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The Greater Caribbean This Week

The imminence of intra-Caribbean trade

by Rubén Silié


The twenty first century has brought as part of its agenda, the obligation to search for responses to globalization, since the world order is geared toward new schemes of relations among countries, according to which the influence of the will of each of these countries, seen individually, loses relevance. This has produced the need for multilateralism and the need to create the different association blocs that have proliferated globally.

The Association of Caribbean States was established driven by that new situation, and since its inception, has made significant progress in discussing and institutionalizing relations in this important sub-region, which just a few years ago, did not see itself as a single entity but instead as being disjointed and scattered, with each group of countries looking toward other areas, quite often far off from their territories.

Today, the ACS presents the governments of Greater Caribbean countries with the important challenge of ultimately deciding whether or not to consolidate the trade potential of this extensive group of nations, creating a specific free trade area. This however is not an easy decision to make given that many countries are members of other integration entities operating in the same sub-region or are associated with countries located outside the region.

This dilemma has become one of the topics of great interest since we are destined to make a decision one way or another. In this respect, there is a controversy within and outside governmental organizations, incorporating other social actors, which as is the case with entrepreneurs and civil society in general, are included in the decision making process in the States to which they belong, so it is not surprising that Caribbean newspapers are devoting more and more space to the discussion of this important matter.

The apparent imminence of the Free Trade Area of the Americas hangs like a "Damocles' Sword" over the Caribbean people, because if this hemispheric initiative were to be approved, all countries of the region will have to adjust to the terms of the FTAA; thus having to accept conditions that do not necessarily flow from the interests of the Greater Caribbean as an entity.

In the meantime, the impasses of the FTAA and the lessons learnt in the negotiations conducted in said initiative, continue to provide the ACS with the possibility of creating a specific strategy for co-operation and the coordination of interests and visions, resulting in the benefit of improved incorporation of its members in the context of the new world order imposed on us by globalization.

Caribbean States are faced with the challenge of continuing to consolidate the broadest space possible for the concerted action currently being undertaken by the twenty eight countries that constitute the ACS, thus taking advantage of the atmosphere of trust developed throughout its first ten years of existence.


Dr. Rubén Silié is Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States. The views expressed are not necessarily the official views of the ACS. Feedback can be sent to mail@acs-aec.org




Also in this section:
Leis, From the democratic observatory
US Embassy, Congratulations for a clean election
Fisher, Now comes the hard part
Gutman, America's man in Baghdad
Weisbrot, Torture's another good reason to get out of Iraq
Silié, Importance of trade within the Caribbean region
Reporters Without Borders, Report on Panama
Jackson, If they think Panama's campaign was vicious...



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