Cooperation with the Caribbean

Guadeloupe belongs to the Greater Caribbean Area, which comprises numerous territories with disparate statuses and economies. The 38 territories of the Caribbean have very diverse statuses: the French Departments in the Americas (DFA) are an integral part of France and as such, of the European Union while British and Dutch territories are endowed with considerable autonomy.

The colonial past has generated distinct cultures and languages. The level of development, strong foreign influences — in particular that of former Metropolitan nations — and the unequal distribution of natural riches have lead to unique development processes. For Caribbean islands, insularity constitutes an additional isolation factor.

Accounting for 4% of the world population, the Caribbean area represents a huge market offering great opportunities.

The Guadeloupe Regional Council wishes to take advantage from this ideal geographical location and conquer the Caribbean market all the while boosting the economy. It strives to integrate Caribbean bodies and thus foster exchanges and agreements with neighbouring territories. It strongly encourages economic players to export to those markets.

Key figures of the Caribbean area

  • 5,2 million km², 38 territories of extremely varying sizes: 2 million km² for Mexico, 91 km² for Anguilla
  • 250 million inhabitants. Mexico is the most populated country and accounts for about 40% of the Caribbean population.

The Caribbean entail a majority of emerging markets showing, as a matter of fact, a strong growth potential in multiple sectors. However, competition remains stiff, given the specificities and regulations of each territory.

The Guadeloupe Regional Council is well aware of how opening the territory to the Caribbean will have positive impacts, especially in economic terms. Nevertheless, it is also aware that challenges must be faced in order to conquer those neighbouring markets.

Thus, the regional authority set up, along with various partners, a vast array of tools meant to help economic players eager to develop exchanges with other parts of the Caribbean. It also endeavours to gain more room within Caribbean bodies and further representation in several neighbouring countries. The Region aims at defending its interests and signing agreements likely to benefit Guadeloupe’s economy.



Cooperation among Caribbean islands

The Caribbean have experienced numerous attempts at regional integration, one of the most significant ones being that which concerned ten English-speaking territories uniting in 1958 under the name of West Indies Federation, based on a British initiative. It faded away in 1962 after Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago withdrew once they had achieved their independence.

  • Despite this failure, the need for regional, economic cooperation rallied three States: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Guyana, who signed in 1965 the first agreement of the Caribbean Free Trade Association - CARIFTA. In 1973, the Chaguaramas Treaty gave birth to the Caribbean Community and Common Market – CARICOM (15 members), which kept the English-speaking and insular aspects of its original setting.
  • Inside CARICOM, former British islands of the Lesser Antilles gathered in 1981 in order to defend their particular interests as Less Developed Countries (LDCs) within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States OECS, 9 members including two associates.

Cooperation in the Caribbean Area

  • Since the first half of the XIXth century, continental States, as they achieved independence, tried to organise on the basis of regional federations in view of countering the United States’ growing influence: in 1951 was thus created the Organisation of Central American States - OCAS (Organización de Estados CentroAmericanos – ODECA : Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua)
  • The Central American Common Market (CACM) was launched in 1960 based on an initiative of the OCAS members. It generated significant economic growth in the 1960s-1970s.
  • On the other hand, CARICOM contributed to creating, in 1994, the main interregional cooperation organisation ; the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) which gathers all States and territories with a Caribbean façade, namely 25 sovereign States, 5 members associated via their Metropolitan State and 8 eligible to associate member status. Its current priority areas are commerce, transport, sustainable tourism and the prevention and control of natural catastrophes.

Cooperation between the Caribbean and the European Union

16 Caribbean States are members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States (ACP) which is linked to the European Union by international agreements (Cotonou, Lomé).

Main institutions of the Caribbean area in 2004


American Virgin IslandsEligible2---
AnguillaEligible-Associate MemberAssociate Member
ArubaAssociate Member1-Observer-
BermudaEligible2-Associate Member
British Virgin IslandsEligible2-Associate MemberAssociate Member
Cayman IslandsEligible2-Associate Member-
Costa RicaMemberMember--
El SalvadorMember---
French GuyanaAssociate Member1---
GuadeloupeAssociate Member1---
MartiniqueAssociate Member1---
Netherland AntillesAssociate Member-Observer-
Puerto RicoEligible2-Eligible2-
Saint LuciaMemberMemberMemberMember
Santo DomingoMemberMemberObserver-
Turks and Caicos IslandsEligible2-Associate Member-