Regional Economic Blocs and Unions
The Caribbean Community and Common Market
The Caribbean Community and Common Market or CARICOM was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas which came into effect on August 1, 1973. The first four signatories were Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. CARICOM replaced the 1965–1972 Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), which had been organized to provide a continued economic linkage between the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean following the dissolution of the West Indies Federation which lasted from January 3, 1958 to May 31, 1962.
The European Union (EU)
The European Union (EU) is an intergovernmental and supranational union of 25 democratic member states. The European Union was established under that name in 1992 by the Treaty on European Union (the Maastricht Treaty). However, many aspects of the Union existed before that date through a series of predecessor relationships, dating back to 1951.
The Union currently has a common single market consisting of a customs union, a single currency managed by the European Central Bank (so far adopted by 12 of the 25 member states), a Common Agricultural Policy, a common trade policy, and a Common Fisheries Policy. A Common Foreign and Security Policy was also established as the second of the three pillars of the European Union. The Schengen Agreement abolished passport control, and customs checks were also abolished at many of the EU's internal borders, creating a single space of mobility for EU citizens to live, travel, work and invest.
The Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC or EAEC)
The Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC or EAEC) was put into motion on 10 October 2000 when Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan signed the treaty. EurAsEC was formally created when the treaty was finally ratified by all five member states in May 2001.
EurAsEC grew out of the CIS Customs Union. All the members of EurAsEC are also members of the older Commonwealth of Independent States and the relationship between the two organisations is ambiguous.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
The North American Free Trade Agreement, known usually as NAFTA, is a free trade agreement among Canada, the United States, and Mexico. NAFTA went into effect on January 1, 1994. NAFTA is also used to refer to the tripartite trading bloc of North American countries. NAFTA called for immediately eliminating duties on half of all U.S. goods shipped to Mexico and Canada, and gradually phasing out other tariffs over a period of about 14 years.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent, intergovernmental Organization, created at the Baghdad Conference on September 10–14, 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The five Founding Members were later joined by eight other Members: Qatar (1961); Indonesia (1962); Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1962); United Arab Emirates (1967); Algeria (1969); Nigeria (1971); Ecuador (1973–1992) and Gabon (1975–1994).
The United Nations (UN)
The United Nations (UN) is an international organization that aims at facilitating co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, and social equity." It was founded in 1945 at the signing of the United Nations Charter by 51 countries, replacing the League of Nations founded in 1919. As of 2006 there exist 192 United Nations member states, including virtually all internationally recognized independent states.
Regional Economic Blocs and Unions
The Euro-Mediterranean free trade area (EU-MEFTA) is based on the Barcelona Process and European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The Barcelona Process, developed after the Barcelona Conference in successive annual meetings, is a set of goals designed to lead to a free trade area in the Middle East by 2010. It is envisioned that a FTA with Rules of Origin with Pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation will be created.