It is an organization for consultation, cooperation and concerted action, with a current focus on trade, transport, sustainable tourism and natural disasters, besides a great interest in the preservation of the Caribbean Sea, seen as the main patrimony of the countries of that extensive zone. The Association of Caribbean States (ACS) was formed on July 24th, 1994 in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) and took office on August 17th  of the following year at the first summit of heads of State and Government, based in Trinidad and Tobago

The ACS is formed by a large number of developing countries – 25 full members and 3 associate members – mostly located in the Caribbean Basin or embedded within the geopolitical dynamics of the region. These countries demonstrate a high degree of heterogeneity in terms of their main geographical, demographic and economic indicators. In addition, it possesses an important cultural baggage encompassing countries of Castilian, French, English and Dutch speaking.

The full members of the ACS are: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.

Associate members include: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana and Bermuda.

The ACS Observer Countries are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, South Korea, Ecuador, Egypt, Spain, Finland, India, Italy, Morocco, Peru, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

All ACS countries are members of the World Trade Organization and therefore subject to the liberalization commitments made in the Uruguay Round.

Purpose and functions

 The Association is a consultative, concerted and cooperative organization whose purpose is to identify and promote the implementation of policies and programs aimed at:

  • Strengthen, use and develop the collective capacities of the Caribbean to achieve sustained cultural, economic, social, scientific and technological development;
  • Develop the potential of the Caribbean Sea through interaction between the state members with third parties;
  • To promote an extended economic space for trade and investment that offers opportunities for cooperation and concertation, and to increase the benefits to the peoples of the Caribbean of resources and assets of the region, including the Caribbean Sea;
  • To establish, consolidate and expand, as appropriate, institutional structures and cooperation agreements that respond to the diversity of cultural identities, development requirements and regulatory systems in the region.

The Association will gradually and progressively promote among its members the following activities:

  • the economic integration, including trade liberalization, investment, transport and other related areas;
  • the discussion of common interest matters with a view to facilitating the active and coordinated the participation of the region in multilateral forums;
  • the formulation and implementation of policies and programs for cooperation;
  • the preservation of the environment and the conservation of the natural resources of the region, in particular the Caribbean Sea;
  • the strengthening of friendly relations between the peoples and governments of the Caribbean;
  • the consultation and cooperation in other areas to be agreed.

Activities

  • to work in the sustainable tourism area of ​​the Caribbean.
  • to facilitate language training.
  • to work on the Caribbean Sea initiative.
  • to coordinate an annual business forum of  the Caribbean Sea
  • to defend interests and treatment for small economies.
  • To update building codes.
  • To strengthen disaster agencies.

General Secretariat of the ACS

It keeps a daily interaction with the state members,  the Social Actors, the Founding Observatory Organizations (CARICOM General Secretariat,

Latina American Economic System (SELA), Central American Economic Integration System (SICA), Permanent Secretariat of the General Treaty on Central American Economic Integration ( SIECA), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Caribbean Tourism Organization (OTC), regional and international organizations, donor agencies and countries, on activities, meetings and fund-raising Related to the Action Plan.
It executes the Program of Work and the Budget Program, performs the Strategic Planning and promotes the ACS.

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