Caribbean Region Business Opportunities

Caribbean Region Business Opportunities

The Caribbean Region (also referred to as the Caribbean, the Caribbean Basin and the West Indies) is a region of the Americas that includes the Caribbean Sea and its islands, which are sorted into three main groups: the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles. As a group, the islands encompass 28 territories (sovereign states, overseas departments and dependencies).  The combined population of the Caribbean Region is 39,169,162 (2009), with a combined GDP in 2015 of 66.94 billion US$. 

Map of the Caribbean

Although Caribbean countries have progressed in diversifying their economies, most of the nations still depend on tourism and agricultural produce trade.  Exceptions to this are Trinidad and the Cayman Islands.

Key Caribbean Region Countries

The Bahamas (more info)

  • Population (‘16E) – 332,634; GDP (‘18E) – 12.1 billion US$; GDP Per Capita (‘16E) – 32,480 US$.  Exports - 15.2 billion US$ ('16E).  Imports –22.1 billion US$ ('17E).
  • One of the most prosperous countries in the Caribbean region.  Relies predominantly on tourism; financial services is next most important financial sector.
  • There is no income tax, corporate tax, capital gains tax, value-added tax (VAT), or wealth tax.
  • Exports include commodities of salt, animal products, chemicals, mineral products, fruits, and vegetables.  Primary imports include transport equipment and machinery, chemicals, mineral fuels, foodstuffs and live animals.

Dominican Republic (more info)

  • Population (‘18E) – 10.2 million; GDP 173.0 billion US$ ('17E); GDP Per Capita 17,000 US$ ('17E); Exports – 10.1 billion US$ ('17E); Imports –17.7 billion US$ ('17E).
  • Second largest economy in the Caribbean.
  • Well-developed telecomm infrastructure; also cable, Internet (including wireless 3G) and DSL services.
  • Exporter of cocoa, coffee, ferro-nickel, gold, silver, sugar and textile goods.  Growth of duty free manufacturing has contributed to exportation of clothing, footwear and other finished products.

Caribbean Port

Puerto Rico (more info)

  • Population (‘17E) – 3.3 million; GDP 130.0 billion US$ ('17E); GDP Per Capita 39,400 US$ ('17E); Exports – 73.2 billion US$ ('17E); Imports – 49.0 billion US$ ('17E).
  • An unincorporated territory of the US.  Recognized as being part of the customs territory of the US; as such, all shipments between Puerto Rico and the US are not subject to import duties.
  • Key industries are pharmaceuticals, electronics, textiles, petrochemicals, processed foods, clothing and textiles.
  • Major exports include chemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates and medical equipment.  Major imports are chemicals, machinery/equipment, clothing, food, fish and petroleum products.

Jamaica (more info)

  • Population (‘17E) – 2.8 million; GDP 26.0 billion US$ ('17E); GDP Per Capita 9,200 US$ ('17E); Exports – 1.3 billion US$ ('17E); Imports – 5.2 billion US$ ('17E).
  • Jamaica is a mixed economy with both state enterprises and private sector businesses.  A large share of the economy has been returned to private sector ownership through divestment and privatization.
  • In 2006, Jamaica became part of CARICOM.
  • Main exports are alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals and mineral fuels.  Main imports are food and other consumer goods, industrial suppliers, fuel, machinery, transport equipment and construction materials.

Trinidad/Tobago (more info)

  • Population (‘17E) – 1.2 million; GDP 42.9 billion US$ ('17E); GDP Per Capita 31,300 US$ ('17E); Exports – 9.9 billion US$ ('17E); Imports – 6.1 billion US$ ('17E).
  • One of wealthiest and most developed of Caribbean nations.  Reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses.
  • Recent growth has been fueled by investments in liquefied natural gas (LNG), petrochemicals and steel.
  • Exports include petroleum and petroleum products, LNG, agricultural products, chemicals and flowers.  Primary imports include machinery, mineral fuels, lubricants, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food products, chemicals and live animals.

Trade Organizations

The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), is an organization of 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies.  CARICOM was established by treaty in 1973.  The secretariat headquarters is based in Georgetown, Guyana.

Community encompasses a population of 16.7 million, and a combined GDP of 107.8 billion US$ and per Capita GDP of 6,439 US$ [’12 estimates].

Members of the Community consist of: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.

Associate Members include Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands.

CARICOM Observers include Aruba, Bermuda, Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Netherlands Antilles.

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