Overall project value

Proportion carried out by BKP Development (%)

No of staff provided

Name of client

Origin of funding

Dates (start/end)


USD 71,658



CARICOM Secretariat

CARICOM-Spain Joint Fund/ Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID)

06/2013 – 03/2014

Detailed description of project

Type of services provided

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has signed partial scope trade agreements with Venezuela (1992), Colombia (1994) and Cuba (2000) and free trade agreements with the Dominican Republic (1998) and Costa Rica (2004) (collectively referred to as bilateral trade agreements, BTAs). Following a study prepared in 2010, which showed that trade between CARICOM and the BTA partner countries was less dynamic than expected, the CARICOM Secretariat commissioned BKP to undertake a new study, the purpose of which was to provide CARICOM Member States with critical information to be used in decision-making and planning for trade in goods, by investigating and analysing the factors responsible for the Region’s weak trade performance under the BTAs.

In order to achieve this objective, the study, for each of the BTA partner countries:

  • Revisited factual data on CARICOM’s trade with (notably exports to) the respective trading partner: this was undertaken through a comparative static statistical analysis of CARICOM’s trade performance with the BTA partners since 1987 (using UN COMTRADE and CARICOM national customs data), complemented by a gravity model analysis in order to estimate the effect of the BTAs on bilateral trade flows;

  • Identified and analysed the reasons for weak export performance of CARICOM: the main sources of information for the analytical part were stakeholders’ responses and views as expressed in semi-structured interviews, although secondary and statistical sources, such as the ITC NTM reports, UNCTAD TRAINS database and the ITC Market Access Map, were also used. Stakeholders consulted included CARICOM and national institutions in both CARICOM members and BTA partners (such as ministries in charge of foreign trade, export development institutions and marketing boards, customs authorities and other agencies facilitating trade), national private sector associations (chambers of commerce, manufacturer and exporter associations), existing and potential CARICOM exporters, and importers in BTA partner countries;

  • Assessed the impact of identified non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to exports at a product (or sector) by BTA partner level: this consisted mainly in an estimate of the price effect of barriers on trade goods, based on both stakeholders’ estimates and resorting to the literature on tariff equivalents of NTBs; and

  • Developed, in consultation with national and CARICOM institutions, policy recommendations for improving performance.

The study was presented, discussed and endorsed at a CARICOM Meeting of Senior Trade Officials, held in Guyana in February 2014. The study was then tabled at the meeting of CARICOM’s Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in May 2014, where all of its ten main recommendations were accepted.

  • Impact assessment of free trade agreements (FTAs) and remaining NTBs under the FTAs;

  • Statistical analysis of trade (export performance);

  • Consultations with exporters and other FTA stakeholders;

  • Development of policy recommendations for improvement/revision of FTAs and their implementation.