Trading Up in Paradise

Mar 1, 2006

The economic prospects for much of the Caribbean are better than they have been in years. Hopefully political issues won't derail progress.

Caribbean islanders may well remember 2006 as the year of the CSME – an acronym for Caribbean Single Market and Economy. The region's answer to the European Union and South America's Mercosur, the CSME will ultimately integrate the finances and economies of 12 signatory countries by allowing labor and goods to move freely from one to another, and by establishing a pan-regional monetary authority for the first time in Caribbean history.

Six nations – Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago – became the first full members of CSME on January 1. The agreement is an "important psychological and political step for this region," says Edwin Carrington, secretary-general of the 15-member Caribbean Community.

Two of the Caribbean's most important economies – the Dominican Republic and Trinidad – will enjoy very strong growth in 2006, while Jamaica is likely to show signs of recovery, as will Cuba, which is currently...

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