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Antigua & Barbuda - Foreign Relations

Antigua and Barbuda enjoys close relations with its neighbours. It is an active member of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and shares a common currency and common judiciary with the other six full members and two associate members of the Organisation. Antigua and Barbuda is also a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which has established a single market. It co-ordinates its foreign policy with the member states of CARICOM.

The Treaty of Chaguaramas established the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in 1973. Its purpose is to promote economic integration among its 15 Member States. Investors operating in Antigua and Barbuda are given preferential access to the entire CARICOM market. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas goes further, establishing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), which permits the free movement of goods, capital, and labor within CARICOM States. CARICOM has bilateral agreements with Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. In 2013, CARICOM entered into a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States.

The Treaty of Basseterre established the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States [OECS]. It consists of seven full Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and three associate members: Anguilla, Martinique, and the British Virgin Islands. The OECS Treaty promotes harmonization among Member States in areas concerning foreign policy, defense and security, and economic affairs. The six independent countries of the OECS ratified the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, establishing the OECS Economic Union on January 21, 2011. The Economic Union established a single financial and economic space within which all factors of production, including goods, services and people, move without hindrance.

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was concluded between the Forum of Caribbean, African and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) and the European Community and its Member States in 2008. The EPA replaced the now expired transitional trade regime of the Cotonou Agreement. The overarching objectives of the EPA are to: alleviate poverty in CARIFORUM, promote regional integration and economic cooperation and foster the gradual integration of the CARIFORUM states into the world economy by improving trade capacity and creating an investment-conducive environment. The Agreement promotes trade-related developments in areas such as competition, intellectual property, public procurement, the environment and protection of personal data.

The trade programs known collectively as the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) are designed to facilitate the economic development and export diversification of the Caribbean Basin economies. Initially launched in 1983 through the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), and substantially expanded in 2000 through the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), the CBI was further expanded in the Trade Act of 2002. It promotes economic development through private sector initiative in Central America and the Caribbean islands by expanding foreign and domestic investment in non-traditional sectors, diversifying CBI country economies and expanding their exports. The CBI provides beneficiary countries with duty-free access to the U.S. market for most goods. It permits duty free entry of products manufactured or assembled in Antigua and Barbuda into the United States.

Antigua and Barbuda greatly values its membership of the Commonwealth and of the United Nations. Within the Commonwealth, Antigua and Barbuda advances the agenda of Small States in the international community. Venezuela, China and Cuba have Embassies in Antigua and Barbuda. It was the Chair of the G77 in 2008.

Antigua and Barbuda maintains diplomatic relations with the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the People's Republic of China, as well as with many Latin American, European, African, and neighboring Eastern Caribbean states. It is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organization of American States, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, and the Eastern Caribbean's Regional Security System (RSS).

Unlike some of its neighbors in the Eastern Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda has withheld recognition of Taiwan and has established relations with the People's Republic of China.

UK/Antiguan relations are excellent. A Bilateral Asset Confiscation Agreement to stem the proceeds of crime was signed in 1997. A Transfer of Prisoners Agreement was signed on 23 June 2003. Antigua hosted the second round, 'Super 8', of the Cricket World Cup in March/April 2007 in their new stadium, the 'Sir Vivian Richards' stadium, located on the outskirts of St John’s. Antigua hosted the 3rd test of the England vs. West Indies Cricket tour from 15-19 February 2009.

The UK Government hosted the (6th) bi-annual UK/Caribbean Ministerial Forum from 14-16 July 2008. UK and Caribbean ministers, including Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, met to discuss mutual co-operation on a range of issues including: economic development; climate change; security and migration.

The United States has maintained friendly relations with Antigua and Barbuda since its independence. The United States has supported the Government of Antigua and Barbuda's effort to expand its economic base and to improve its citizens' standard of living. However, concerns over the lack of adequate regulation of the financial services sector prompted the U.S. Government to issue a financial advisory for Antigua and Barbuda in 1999. The advisory was lifted in 2001, but the U.S. Government continues to monitor the Government of Antigua and Barbuda's regulation of financial services.

The United States also has been active in supporting post-hurricane disaster assistance and rehabilitation through the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Peace Corps. U.S. assistance is primarily channeled through multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), as well as through the USAID office in Bridgetown, Barbados. In addition, Antigua and Barbuda receives counternarcotics assistance and benefits from U.S. military exercise-related and humanitarian civic assistance construction projects.

Antigua and Barbuda is strategically situated in the Leeward Islands near maritime transport lanes of major importance to the United States. Antigua has long hosted a U.S. military presence. The United States Air Force operates a satellite tracking station under a lease agreement with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.

Antigua and Barbuda's location close to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico makes it an attractive transshipment point for narcotics traffickers. To address these problems, the United States and Antigua and Barbuda have signed a series of counternarcotic and anticrime treaties and agreements, including a maritime law enforcement agreement (1995), subsequently amended to include overflight and order-to-land provisions (1996); a bilateral extradition treaty (1996); and a mutual legal assistance treaty (1996).

An Agreement of 15 March 2017 established single maritime boundaries for the delimitation of the maritime space, in this instance, the Exclusive Economic Zone in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea between Antigua and Barbuda and Guadeloupe on one hand and Antigua and Barbuda and St. Barthélémy on the other hand. Antigua and Barbuda also shares boundaries which remain to be delimited with St. Kitts and Nevis as well as the United Kingdom in respect of Anguilla and Montserrat.

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