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Our relationship with the Caribbean
As fellow small states, New Zealand and the Caribbean have shared interests that have grown through our Commonwealth history and personal connections, the dairy trade, and sporting ties, particularly with cricket. The 2014 opening of the New Zealand High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados has helped to cement the relationship between New Zealand and the Caribbean. Using Barbados as a home base, we engage regularly at a high level with Caribbean governments and deliver our development assistance programme throughout the region.
Our engagement with the Caribbean is based on our desire to build stronger partnerships with this large region of small island states. We want to build connections between the Caribbean and the Pacific, and use our expertise and experience to explore solutions to development issues faced by small island developing states (SIDS). New Zealand is a strong advocate for SIDS in the international area, our engagement in this area having grown in recent years linked to our support for the UN SIDS conference in Apia in 2014 and our use of our United Nations Security Council term to raise the profile of SIDS issues (most notably holding an Open Debate on the peace and security challenges facing SIDS in July 2015).
In 2014 a number of Caribbean leaders visited New Zealand to cement high level contacts and explore opportunities to grow relationships between our two countries. There is particular interest in building links in the renewable energy, agriculture and education sectors, and in Māori economic development models.
Through the United Nations and the Commonwealth we work closely with our Caribbean partners, particularly on issues to do with small island developing states such as oceans management, transnational crime and small arms trafficking.
We have formal diplomatic relationships with the following Caribbean countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. We also have formal diplomatic relationships with the two main regional organisations: the CARICOM Secretariat and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Our High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados manages our diplomatic relationship with CARICOM and OECS.
We have a long, yet modest history of trade links with the Caribbean. Our exports are largely dairy products and meat, and we import spirits and accessories. Total two-way trade between New Zealand and the Caribbean in 2014 was $105 million, of which $95 million were New Zealand exports. There is scope to expand trade, tourism and investment as the economies of the Caribbean develop.
As small island developing states, most Caribbean countries face development challenges related to their size, isolation and vulnerability. Our development work in the Caribbean focuses on partnering in areas of need where we have expertise and experience:
- renewable energy (particularly geothermal)
- disaster risk management
- knowledge and skills (including scholarships and targeted assistance in agriculture).
We signed a Development Cooperation Arrangement with CARICOM in May 2014 which encourages partnership in these areas.
|Barbados, Bridgetown||Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago|
|Mexico, Mexico City||The Dominican Republic|
News & Events
The Government of New Zealand has announced that it is contributing NZ$250,000 to the immediate relief efforts for Caribbean countries affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
New Zealanders in the Caribbean should be aware Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in the Leeward Islands before 6 September.
The New Zealand High Commission in Bridgetown is inviting applications to the New Zealand High Commission Fund.