Trade between the Caribbean and Europe had been conducted for three decades under the institutional umbrella of a series of preferential arrangements starting with the first Lomé Convention in 1976. It and subsequent iterations of that framework allowed the collection of ACP (African, Caribbean, and Pacific) countries to enjoy preferential access to the European market.
The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) recently concluded by the European Union and CARIFORUM (the countries of CARICOM plus the Dominical Republic) replaces the Lomé arrangements and will govern trade between the two regions going forward.
The CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement establishes a free trade area encompassing the European Union and the Caribbean. The feature of the EPA that sets it apart from the preceding arrangements is its WTO-compatibility, in that it eliminates non-reciprocal market access between trading Partners.