|Title||Paradigms in Caribbean trade diplomacy: negotating the CARIFORUM–EC Free Trade Agreement|
The CARIFORUM States in signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with
the European Community on the 15the October, 2008 in Bridgetown Barbados have
demonstrated a bold step by a group of Small Developing Island States (SIDS) on the trail of the emerging global trade regime because, notwithstanding the levels of economic disparity between the two sides, the Caribbean accepted the unequal nature of the partnership in a pragmatic and constructive sense. The region’s negotiators skilfully used the asymmetry of power dynamics of the European Community and the global trade inertia to craft a deal and carved a way forward for themselves which gave practical application to the realist theory of International relations in the context of international bargaining with domestic constraints. They have illuminated a paradigm shift towards a new era in which small vulnerable developing states can become
proactive in order to protect their vital commercial interests.
The CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership is one of the most innovative and farreaching Free Trade Agreement ever entered into in the context of North-South
relations. So unique and innovative are the arrangements that they now evidenced the new paradigm and a model for future Free Trade Agreement, not just between Europe and the rest of the developing world but, among developing countries themselves. It also has implications for the multilateral system in the context of the Doha Round of negotiation. The research contributes to knowledge by illustrating the application of an adapted combination of the classical co-operative and non- cooperative models of coalition bargaining developed by John Nash and the Thomas Schelling’s model
analyzed in the context of Robert Putman’s games theory are very relevant in explaining the Paradigms in Caribbean trade diplomacy and how the regions succeeded in
leveraging concessions in negotiating the CARIFORUM–EC Free Trade Agreement. The work places the asymmetric problems of the CARIFORUM States in the context of their need for a specific outcome in light of their national interests and the EC’s desire to negotiate a new trade arrangement in keeping with the demands of its own domestic constituents and their wider international trade agenda. Finally, the work challenges the assertions that the EC in International Trade Negotiations uses its superior negotiating machinery and strength of its markets as secured vehicles to influence and impose its external trade policies on developing countries and further that the ACP States are reactive in character.