The Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have responded to the economic challenges of globalisation and trade liberalisation by deepening the integration process through the creation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
In January and June of 2006, the twelve beneficiary Member States advised that they had completed the required steps to comply with the requirement of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, establishing the CSME (Revised Treaty), which was signed in 2001.
Although, in addition to the 12 beneficiary Member States, Haiti is a party to the Revised Treaty, there is a separate project seeking to ensure that Haiti is able to implement its obligations.
The Revised Treaty establishes the [egal basis for the CSME as defined in Article 1 of the Treaty. The article provides that the CSME means, "the regimes established by the provision of this Revised Treaty, replacing Chapters Three through Seven of the Annex to the Treaty establishing the Caribbean Community and Common Market, signed at Chaguaramas on 4th July 1973."
One objective, in accordance with Paragraph 2(a) of Article 78 is the "full integration of the national markets of Member States of the Community into a single, unified and open market area". Other provisions related to the regulatory/administrative practices, procedures and processes that have a direct bearing on the effectiveness of operation of the five core regimes are included in Articles 34 (b), 35, 37 (3)(b), 44 (1)(b), 78 (2), 133 (5), 116 (8), 170 and Article 76 Role of Public Authorities.
Six years after its inception in 2006 the CSME continues to be a work in progress. Extensive actions have been taken by participating Member States to establish the legal and institutional arrangements for a functioning Single Market (CSM). It is also envisaged that the market arrangements would be supported with some degree of harmonisation of economic and social policies agreed by Member States.
The benefits from the establishment and operation of the CSM expected by stakeholders will not materialize unless there is full implementation and effective operation of the CSM. The Revised Treaty provides CARICOM nationals are entitled to establish businesses; provide services; and move capital in accordance with the specific provisions applying to those areas. In addition, Skilled "CARICOM nationals" have the right to travel, live and work in a CSME Member State of their choice.
Integration of this nature requires implementation of new and/or extensive reform of existing legislation, regulations, and associated procedural and administrative arrangements to operate the CSM. The reforms must then be integrated into the various institutional and public sector entities. In addition, appropriate systems need to be established, and education and advocacy needs to be undertaken, to ensure that stakeholders have access to and participate in the various markets. The reforms are intended to achieve this improved access.
Under the provisions of Article 23 and 24 of the Revised Treaty, the CARl COM Secretariat, using the authority vested therein undertook a number of interventions in Member States in order to determine precisely what additional measures are required to further implementation of the CSME. One of its interventions is the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP) which is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) under the terms of a Contribution Arrangement which was
signed in 2008 between the CARICOM Secretariat and the Government of Canada. The Secretariat is expected to apply the resources to assist Member States to complete implementation of the arrangement for the effective operation of the CSM.
More recently the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States established the OECS Union which has interlocking arrangements with the CSM.
The CARICOM Secretariat is discharging the following mandate from the Conference of Heads of Government:
Thirteenth Inter- Sessional Meeting
This Meeting recalled the agreement reached with regard to the Programmes for the removal of restrictions. This agreement which specified that with regards to the identified restrictions and their corresponding timeframes .... "the short term be up to 31
December 2003, medium term be up to 31 December 2004 and the long term be up to
31 December 2005 but that, in principle and within that time-frame, each Member State endeavour to remove each restriction in the shortest possible time;
Twenty-First Inter-Sessional Meeting
The Twenty-First Inter-Sessional Meeting, agreed that Member States would indicate to the Secretariat the dates by which they anticipate implementing the outstanding measures; and an outer limit on the timeline for the implementation of all outstanding measures should be established after Member States have submitted their national projected implementation dates for each of the respective outstanding measures;
The Retreat of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community
The Retreat was convened on the 21-22 May 2011 in Guyana. Heads of Government agreed to consolidate the CARICOM Single Market before taking any further action on certain specific elements such as movement towards a single currency.