Caribbean-Canadian Trade Agreement

by Paul Cartmell ; Updated September 26, 2017
International trade map of the world.

According to the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade the Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN) was ratified in 1986, allowing access to Canada's economic markets to Commonwealth Caribbean countries. The CaribCan agreement allowed for a new free trade agreement to be negotiated between Canada and the Caribbean trading group, CARICOM, after 20 years.


The Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Trade reports a history of trading between Canada and the Caribbean dating back to the period when the two areas of the Americas were held under British colonist rule. Trade agreements have existed between Canada and the Caribbean through the majority of the 20th century. In 1912 a trade treaty was established between Canada and the Caribbean, which was followed by the 1925 Commonwealth Caribbean and Canada Agreement. Both countries are members of the Commonwealth of Nations trade agreements.


Trade agreements between the Caribbean and Canada are organized with members of the CARICOM organization. The CARICOM organization was created by members of the Caribbean Commonwealth in 1972, when a common market economy was established between the members of the Caribbean Free Trade Association. Revisions were made to the treaty throughout the 1980s and into the 2000s, allowing for the creation of a single market economy and the free movement of people and merchandise throughout the Caribbean. CARICOM members include The Bahamas, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat and Suriname.

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The adoption of the CARIBCAM agreement occurred between the Caribbean and Canada in June 1986. This trade agreement allowed for the building of the economy of the Caribbean Commonwealth countries by giving them economic access to the Canadian market. CARIBCAM gave imports into Canada from Caribbean Commonwealth countries duty-free status. Funding and educational opportunities were also given to members of the Caribbean Commonwealth countries from Canada in relation to marketing products in Canada and developing economic prospects in the region.

Canada-Caribbean Community Free Trade Agreement

The earlier CARIBCAM trade agreement lasted around 20 years, according to the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade. Following the 20-year period negotiations were to begin between CARICOM and Canada about the establishment of a new free trade agreement to allow for a free flow of goods and services between the two communities. The establishment of a free trade agreement was designed to increase trade between the two entities.


According to Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade Canada the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper opened negotiations between CARICOM and Canada on July 19, 2007. The intervening years between the expiration of the previous accord were used to conduct research and gain public opinion about the possible free trade agreement between CARICOM and Canada.

About the Author

Paul Cartmell began his career as a writer for documentaries and fictional films in the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s. Working in documentary journalism, Cartmell wrote about a wide variety of subjects including racism in professional sports. Cartmell attended the University of Lincoln and London Metropolitan University, gaining degrees in journalism and film studies.

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