The Importance of Negotiation Preparedness: Reflections on the Caribbean Experience

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Alister McIntyre


Over the past three decades, CARICOM countries have both individually, and as a group, accumulated considerable experience in regional and international negotiations. Within the region, the development of CARICOM, other related institutions and arrangements have taken up a considerable amount of the time of governments. Associated with these developments have been trade and economic agreements with major trading partners - European Union (EU), Canada and, more recently, the United States. Governments have also been involved in almost unending negotiations with the international financial institutions over their stabilisation and adjustment programmes. At different periods substantial attention has also been paid to global negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations and its specialised agencies, such as GATT. Furthermore, some governments have been intensely involved in negotiations with international companies in fields such as natural resources telecommunications.

States that is is not possible in a single presentation to distill and synthesise this wide variety of experiences into a set of reflections but will concentrate on the inter-governmental trade and economic negotiations with overseas countries and groups of countries, partly because we are on the threshold of new negotiations for entry into NAFTA, and the lessons of the past may be of some help in structuring the future.

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