This paper estimates the impact of the tariff liberalization in four largest CARICOM countries (Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago) on their trade flows. I trace changes in the product-line imports from CARICOM and non-CARICOM countries against time and commodity-level variation in external tariffs. I find that in each country the reduction of the external tariff, which eroded preferences enjoyed by member imports, increased the ratio of imports from non-member countries to imports from member countries. In Trinidad and Tobago, the higher ratio was largely the result of non-member imports crowding out member imports. In the three other countries, the ratio increased mainly because of higher non-member imports; there is little evidence that tariff reductions had an impact on member imports. Findings suggest that in Trinidad and Tobago liberalization of the external tariff reversed some of the trade diversion effects of CARICOM.
Mr. Simon Cueva, Mr. Stephen Tokarick, Mr. Erik J. Lundback, Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky, and Mr. Samuel P. Itam
This paper focuses on the independent states that are full members of the Caribbean Community. It provides background information on recent developments in the Caribbean region and lays out the principal policy issues that countries will need to address in the period ahead. The Caribbean countries face several common problems and must deal with similar economic policy issues. Consequently, concentrating on the regional perspective permits a comparison of the individual responses to similar problems. The regional view throws light on the countries' movement toward convergence. The economic prospects for the region are generally satisfactory over the medium term, but the projections depend importantly on the resolve of governments to pursue appropriate policies, as well as favorable developments in the rest of the world. The relatively favorable outlook for the region is not without risks, such as a slowdown in growth in the major trading partner countries or a term of trade shock.
In the late 1980s Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago found themselves in severe economic difficulties. Their ensuing economic strategies were all market-based, featured fiscal contraction and trade liberalization, multilateral support loans and, later on, tax and financial sector reforms. However, exchange rate, monetary and public sector wage policies varied greatly. Choice of exchange rate regime was not as fundamental to successful stabilization as was fiscal action, complemented by, but without undue reliance on, monetary policy. The policies employed to reduce debt and to diversify the economic bases also help t lessen vulnerabilities to future economic shocks.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix reviews developments in the energy sector of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago during 1997–99, and assesses the outlook for energy-related industries. The paper highlights that in 1998, the decline of mature fields was exacerbated by the low price of oil experienced during the year, which made exploitation of some fields uneconomic. The paper examines the fiscal sustainability of energy resources. It also analyzes trade liberalization that has been an integral part of Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts to restructure its economy for sustained growth.