Belize is a member of the Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN) which is a Canadian government programme, established in 1986 between Canada and Governments of the Commonwealth Caribbean. Canada has requested a waiver under the CARIBCAN. The CARIBCAN had expired 31st December 2013. The waiver will be for 10 years, up to 2023. This will grant Belizean goods like rock lobster prerferential treatment into the Canadian market. The objective of the agreement is to promote trade, investment and provide industrial cooperation through the preferential access of goods from the countries of the Commonwealth-Caribbean to the Canadian market. (View Agreement).

Market Access

Approximately 98% of total CARICOM merchandise exports currently enter Canada duty free under MFN, CARIBCAN (CCT) or General Preferential Tariff (GPT). The CARIBCAN agreement does not cover duty-free access for the following items: Textiles and apparel, footwear, luggage and handbags, leather garments, lubricating oils and methanol. The table below illustrates select dutiable CARICOM exports to Canada.


Select Dutiable CARICOM Exports to Canada
Dutiable 25 Top CARICOM Exports to Canada
HS Code Description MFN GPT CCCT
21039020/90 Mixed Condiments and seasonings
including Pepper Sauce
8% or 9.5% 5% or 9.5% 0
22021000 Aerated Beverages 11 5 0
22084010 Rum and Tafia in Bottles 24.56¢/litre 0 0
22084090 Other Rum and Tafia 12.28¢/litre 0 0
22087000 Liqueurs and Cordial 12.28¢/litre 0 0
29051100 Methanol 5.5 3 0
73269090 Other Articles of Iron or Steel 6.5 3 0
Source: CARICOM Secretariat


CARICOM exports to Canada accounted for only 4% of regional exports over the period 2004-2006. These exports comprised of a narrow range of primary goods and basic manufactures such as Alumina, Gold, Rum, Roots and Tubers, Beer, Bakery products; Liqueurs, Sauces and Condiments; Nutmeg, Frozen Fish. (View Data).

Belize’s exports to Canada are negligible and are mainly sugar, essential oils of citrus (orange and grapefruit), frozen orange juice, lobster, black eye peas and sugar. (View List).

Protocol on Rum

More importantly, the Protocol on Rum calls for national treatment of rum with respect to measures affecting the listing,distilling, distribution, mark-up of distilled spirit. The Protocol, signed in 2000, was only valid for five years. It will be important for CARICOM to secure that rum is treated with duty free access and that special consideration is given to that sector during the current CARICOM-Canada FTA.

CARIBCAN preferences have been in existence for over twenty years and have been extended under a new WTO waiver until December30, 2011. A new free trade agreement that will replace the CARIBCAN Agreement is currently in negotiations between CARICOM and Canada. The new trade arrangement will be based on reciprocal (two way) trade in which the tariffs charged on goods imported from CARICOM will be reduced significantly. Similarly, access to the Canadian market will be expanded for CARICOM exports, hopefully at preferential rates.

Importantly, the new agreement will not be limited to only trade in goods similar to  the CARIBCAN, but it will also include trade in services and access for Canadian companies to the Caribbean market and vice-versa.

Rules of Origin

Goods are eligible for duty-free status if they can be certified as being grown, manufactured or produced within the Commonwealth-Caribbean or Canada. The definition to be designated as Caribbean as its origin is; ‘having a minimum input of 60 percent of the ex-factory price of the goods (including overhead and reasonable profits) originating within any of the Commonwealth Caribbean countries (or Canada). The goods must also be exported directly from the Caribbean to Canada with no other work.