The Dragon in the Caribbean: China–CARICOM Economic Relations

The Round Table 06/2010; 99:281-302. DOI: 10.1080/00358533.2010.484144


In recent years the People's Republic of China (China) has expanded its economic relations with CARICOM (the member states of CARICOM are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago). This is evident in the increase in trade and development assistance. The objective of this article is to explain the expanded and intensified economic presence of China in the CARICOM region. In order to accomplish this it is necessary to identify the motives for China's conduct in the region and the factors that account for the receptivity of CARICOM to economic relations with China. Although the focus is primarily on the economic relationship between China and the CARICOM countries, this aspect of China's involvement in the region cannot be separated from the political dimension. China's motives for a growing presence in the region are both economic and political and have to be examined in the wider context of China's overall foreign policy, its shifting world view, its superpower status and the geo-politics of the current global conjuncture. Similarly, CARICOM's conduct has to be located in the wider context of its overall foreign policy. The first section outlines the history and current status of China–CARICOM relations. This is followed by an exposition of the extent and increase in economic interaction between China and CARICOM. The third section provides an examination of China's motives for the conduct of its foreign policy in the CARICOM countries. These motives are partly influenced by economics and partly by politics and hence have to be understood in the global geo-political context. A fourth section is devoted to explaining CARICOM's receptivity to increased economic relations with China. The final section provides a brief outlook for China–CARICOM economic relations.

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