The CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was signed on 15th October 2008, liberalizes trade and investment between fifteen (15) CARIFORUM States and the twenty-seven (27) European Union (EU) countries on a reciprocal, but asymmetric basis. The EPA enables CARIFORUM States and the EU to satisfy their obligations under the WTO, by liberalizing “substantially all trade” between them under a comprehensive Trade Agreement.

The EPA, not only covers trade in goods, Agriculture and fisheries, but it also addresses trade in services, investment facilitation, and trade related issues between the Parties. In addition, the EU agreed to provide special development support aimed at strengthening CARIFORUM institutions, improving competitiveness, and building the capacity of regional economic operators to take advantage of market access opportunities provided under the Agreement.

pdf Download full text of the Agreement here. (10.30 MB)


• 28th February 1975, the first ACP-EEC Convention signed in Lome, Togo and the Caribbean’s “Special Relationship” with the EU began. Barbados was one of six CARICOM States to join other developing countries from Africa and the Pacific to form the ACP Group.

• November 1992, the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States was formally established; following the accession of the Dominican Republic to the Lomé IV ACP-EC Convention.

• 23rd June 2000, ACP-EU Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou, Benin.

• 14th November 2001, ACP & EU secured a WTO waiver to allow the Cotonou Agreement’s non-reciprocal market access arrangements to remain in force until 31st December 2007.

• 27th September 2002, Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations began at all-ACP level in Brussels, Belgium.

• 16th April 2004, CARIFORUM-EU regional EPA negotiations launched in Kingston, Jamaica.

• 16th December 2007, EPA negotiations completed and text initialled by the two Chief Negotiators in Bridgetown, Barbados.

• 1st January 2008, guaranteed duty free access into EU market for CARIFORUM goods instituted.

• 15th October 2008, EPA signed in Bridgetown, Barbados.

• 29th December 2008, provisional application of EPA commenced.

• On 1st January 2011, after a three-year moratorium, phased reduction of tariffs by CARIFORUM countries began. This gradual tariff reduction process is scheduled to continue over the 25-year period to 2033.

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is an ambitious and ongoing effort by twelve CARICOM countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago) to deepen their economic integration.

Three members of CARICOM, the Bahamas, Haiti and Montserrat are not yet party to the CSME.  The decision to enter into a CSME was taken in October 1989 in Grande Anse, Grenada.

Three CARICOM Members are to launch the Single Market prior to the other Member States.  These are Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.  The remaining states will complete their work to meet the requirements of the Single Market during the course of 2005.

Website of the CARICOM Secretariat.


Why a CSME?

Barbados considers the CSME to be of increasing importance.  CARICOM is now fully engaged in establishing the CSME as soon as possible.

As a group of small economies, access to premium inputs to production can be difficult and costly, and therefore reduces our ability to compete effectively in a competitive world economy.

In addition, the region is involved in a range of trade Agreements and negotiations at the bilateral, hemispheric and multilateral levels, and it is considered necessary to have a unified regional platform, such as the CSME.

Booklet "Deepening Caribbean Integration: BARBADOS IN THE CSME"


Barbados & the CSME

CARICOM is one of Barbados' major trading partners.  In an effort to ensure that positive economic relations prevail among the members of CARICOM, the CSME is being developed.  The Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Hon. Owen S. Arthur is the lead CARICOM Head of Government with responsibility for the implementation of the CSME.

To date, several pieces of legislation have been amended to facilitate the entry of CARICOM nationals and the establishment of regional businesses.  Likewise local businesses and residents will have the right to enter and carry on commercial activity in other regional markets.

As the integration effort proceeds wider pool of resources - human, physical, intellectual and otherwise - will be available providing the environment for greater economic growth domestically and regionally.


Implementing the CSME

A Unit responsible for coordinating Barbados' implementation of its obligations under the CSME has been established in the Prime Minister's Office.

Queries regarding exporting to CARICOM by local business persons, should be forwarded to the  Foreign Trade Division  of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The Single Market

Restrictions to trade in goods among CARICOM states were systematically removed over the past ten years and a common external tariff (CET) introduced.  Barbados has removed all barriers to imports and exports for CARICOM states.

Restrictions to trade in services have also been removed.  Those remaining restrictions provide security to the economic and social systems.  Those procedures required to ensure the health and safety of the country, as well as those to verify that legitimate activity takes place, remain in effect in Barbados.


The Single Economy

Much work remains ahead of CARICOM in order to implement a Single Economy.  The key elements of the Single Economy are (i) the macro-economic framework; (ii) sectoral development; and (iii) institutional arrangements.


The Foreign Trade Division oversees the foreign trade policy of the Government of Barbados.

The Mission of the Division is to promote and facilitate the development of Barbados' international trade, particularly its export trade, and to strategically position Barbados to operate in, and derive the maximum trade benefits from new liberalised global trade.

The Division therefore develops foreign trade policy, in consultation with other Ministries, the private sector and trade unions, and advises Government on matters related to trade negotiations.

Specifically, the Foreign Trade Division addressed issues related to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), ACP-EU relations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and bilateral trade arrangements.


In 2002 and 2008 Barbados completed WTO Trade Policy Reviews. Click here to see the text of the Government's Report, WTO Secretariat's Report and speeches made on those occasions.


Barbados' Trade Profile at a Glance for the period leading up to 2009


In addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, there are a number of other Government Ministries and agencies which have information pertinent to the Barbadian exporter.

The Government Ministries and agencies below may have information pertinent to the Barbadian exporter:


Government Agencies

Ministry of Industry & International Business

Ministry of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development

Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development

Barbados Customs & Excise Department

Barbados Investment & Development Corporation (BIDC)

Regional Agencies

CARICOM Secretariat

Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM)

Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA)

Private Sector Organisations

Barbados Manufacturers Association (BMA)

Barbados Chamber of Commerce & industry (BCCI)

Barbados Private Sector Trade Team (BPSTT)
Goddard's ComplexB JJJ
BarbadosE-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel. No.: (246) 228-8900/1
Fax. no.: (246) 228-8902


Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS)

'The Grotto'
Beckles Road
St. Michael

E-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel. No.: (246) 436-6683
Fax. No.: (246) 435-0651