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Sunday, January 22, 2006 

Caribbean Nations Launch Economic Trade Bloc
January 23, 2006

In a bid to bolster their sagging economies and bring some strength through unity, six Caribbean nations have launched an economic bloc or free trade zone which they say will allow goods, services and skilled workers to move more easily throughout the region.

Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur said of the January 1st launch of the free trade zone, "To put together a single market and economy is a historic thing." The six members of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy group are Jamaica, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

Other nations from the 15-nation Caribbean Community are expected to join as they meet the legal and economic requirements. The exception will be troubled Haiti which has been suspended from the Community because of ongoing violence and political turmoil. Also, the Bahamas may not join because it objects to provisions allowing the free flow of skilled workers among nations.

Copyright 2005, Louisiana Weekly Publishing Company

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