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Caribbean Region: Review of Economic Growth and Development

Investigation No. 332-496
USITC Publication 4000


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC or Commission) today released Caribbean Region: Review of Economic Growth and Development, a report requested by the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Ways and Means to help it identify ways that U.S. trade and aid policy can most help the Caribbean Basin.

In its request for the investigation, the Committee expressed a need, in deciding on the best policy for the region moving forward, to examine past successes and failures of the Caribbean Basinís economic growth.

As requested, the ITC, an independent, factfinding, federal agency, provided an in-depth description of the current level of economic development in the Caribbean Basin at the regional level and the country level. The ITC reviewed the economic literature on potential Caribbean development and information provided at a hearing and in written submissions to identify possible future development strategies for the region as well as challenges facing Caribbean countries and possible ways of addressing them.

Highlights of the report follow:

  • The countries covered by the CBERA vary considerably in population, GDP and per-capita GDP, social indicators, and production and export bases, as illustrated in a regional overview and 18 country profiles. Although they are constrained by the relatively small size of their economies and limited natural resources, the report identifies and discusses a number of industries and firms in these countries that successfully overcame these constraints.
  • The report includes brief case studies of successful industries that have been able to compete globally or regionally despite small size or capacity constraints. These case studies found in the regional overview, the literature review, and the country profiles as illustrative examples.
  • The report identifies developments in Caribbean service sectors that build on the regionís strengths and comparative advantages. It also discusses sectors that have been able to attract foreign investment.
  • Information gathered by the ITC suggests that Caribbean countries could promote trade by reducing external tariffs, promoting the private provision of infrastructure services, and advancing efforts at regional integration that are already underway.
  • The information gathered also suggests that extension and expansion of U.S. trade preference programs for the region could assist the development of Caribbean exports by extending CBERAís sectoral coverage and duration and by liberalizing CBERAís rules of origin to allow fabric inputs from additional non-U.S. sources.

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