CAF, Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean, presented in the Trinidad & Tobago’s Central Bank Auditorium the Economy and Development Report (ERD) 2021 titled “Pathways to Integration: trade facilitation, infrastructure and global value chains”. The report explores the notion that the relatively low participation in international trade of Latin American and Caribbean firms is due, in part, to the limited use of the regional sphere as a necessary complement to a strategy of global export expansion and proposes initiatives in three specific areas: trade facilitation, physical infrastructure, and productive integration.
Over the last 30 years, most Latin American and Caribbean countries have unilaterally and multilaterally implemented trade liberalization policies within the framework of regional and extra-regional trade agreements. These policies have resulted in a reduction of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, generating increases in trade and investment. However, the magnitude of these increases has been modest. Trinidad and Tobago has even seen a decrease in its trade over GDP ratio, going from 99% of GDP in the period 1980-1984 to 85% in the period 2015-2019; Barbados shows a similar pattern while the Dominican Republic records an increase of 5%. In the same period, the region as a whole has increased its trade over GDP ratio from 52% to 62%.