This guide is one of ten individual guides available (not including a summary guide), covering the following countries and territories: Aruba and Curacao; the Bahamas; Barbados; British Territories, comprising Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos; the Dominican Republic; Guadeloupe and Martinique; Haiti; Jamaica; and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
For more information, contact USDA/FAS offices in the Dominican Republic and Miami:
Caribbean Community (comprised of Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago). The Bahamas is not a member of the common market.
Common External Tariff (applied by CARICOM)
Cost, Insurance, Freight
European Union (comprised of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom)
Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA)
Freight on Board
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
Hotel, Restaurant, Institutional
Harmonized System (product classification system for customs tariffs)
Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (comprised of Antigua & Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines). Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands are associate members.
The British dependent territories in the Caribbean include Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands. For the purpose of this report, Montserrat has been omitted, as it is largely depopulated due to volcanic activity. Bermuda, another British territory located in the Atlantic is not included either: it is presented in a separate report.
The British territories in the Caribbean consist of several small islands whose economies are based on tourism and offshore banking and finance. The Cayman Islands are the most westerly. They are located south of Cuba, 460 miles south of Miami, and 180 miles northwest of Jamaica. The Turks and Caicos Islands lie to the Southeast of the Bahamas chain, 90 miles north of Haiti. The British Virgin Islands and Anguilla are contiguous. The British Virgin Islands are located 80 miles east of Puerto Rico and adjacent to the US Virgin Islands. Anguilla is further east of Puerto Rico and is the most northerly of the Leeward Islands.
Number of islands
GDP per capita (US$)
Number of visitors per year
British Virgin Islands
Turks and Caicos
Source: 1997 Caribbean Basin Profile, Caribbean Publishing Co. and Caribbean Latin American Action.
Anguilla consists of one major island and a dependent territory, Sombrero, which is located 30 miles to the north. Total population is 10,300, mostly of African descent. The Valley is the capital and is located in the center of the island. In addition to the local population, there are as many as 1,000 part-time residents from the US and Europe, especially during the high season of November-March. These visitors are important consumers of high-value products, as they tend to be wealthier than the average tourist or local resident. The currency used in Anguilla is the Eastern Caribbean dollar.
Anguilla has about 65 miles of roads, of which 40 are paved. The principal ports are located at Road Bay and Sandy Ground. There is a smaller port at Blowing Point. The airport is located one mile from the capital and has a 3,600-foot runway. Major shipping companies include Bernuth Lines, Crowley American Transport, P&O Container, and Tropical Shipping.
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) consist of thirty-size islands, sixteen of which are inhabited. The principal islands are Tortola (21 square miles), Anegada (15 square miles), Virgin Gorda (8 square miles) and Jost Van Dyke (3.4 square miles) Total population is estimated at 18,300, over ninety percent of which are of African descent, the remainder being of European, American or Asian origin. The capital is Road Town, which is on Tortola. The currency used in the BVI is the US dollar.
There are 85 miles of paved roads in total. Port Purcell and West End on Tortola are the major ports. St. Thomas Bay (Virgin Gorda) and Great Harbor (Jost Van Dyke) are other principal locations. There are ferry services to the US Virgin Islands also. Beef Service International Airport is located 10 mi. from Road Town. There are two additional airports on Virgin Gorda and Anegada. Major shipping companies include Atlantic, Crowley American Transport, Saguenay Shipping, and Tropical Shipping Co. Air cargo includes American Airlines Air Cargo, Four Star Air Cargo, Rush It Inc., Atlantic Air BVI, and LIAT.
Three major islands compose the Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Most of the 33,600 residents live on Grand Cayman. Cayman Brac has around 1,500 residents and Little Cayman has less than 100 inhabitants. Grand Cayman, the main island, is about 65 miles west of the smaller two. The capital and only important metropolitan area, George Town, is located there. The Cayman Islands' ethnic divisions include: African descent (20 percent), Caucasian descent (20 percent), mixed (40 percent), and expatriates of various ethnic groups (20 percent). GDP per capita is among the highest in the world. Besides tourism, offshore business and international finance are the major contributors to the economy. The currency used in the Cayman Islands is the Cayman Islands dollar.
In the Cayman Islands, the major international airport and the main commercial port are both located in George Town. Each of the two smaller islands also have airports and seaports but they are not used for international traffic. There are 110 miles of good quality roads on the island. Freight transportation is regular and efficient between the US and George Town. Thompson Shipping Co. offers two sailings out of Miami and one sailing out of Tampa every week. Kirk Line Ltd. also has a regular service out of Miami every week. American Airlines Cargo, Air Jamaica, Cayman Airways Cargo, Jamaica Air Freighters and Northwest Airlines provide air cargo service.
Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos consists of forty islands, of which only eight are inhabited. North Caicos, Middle Caicos, East Caicos and Providenciales are the largest islands. The capital, Cockburn Town, is located on Grand Turk, a smaller island. Total population of Turks and Caicos is estimated at 13,800, but non-residents living in the islands are not counted in this number. They represent an additional 10,000 people or more throughout the year. Providenciales is the main travel destination and the most populated area with 8,000 to 10,000 inhabitants. Grand Turk has a population of 3,500, while North Caicos and South Caicos have populations of 1,500 each. The economy is based on tourism, offshore financial services and fishing. The population is mostly of African descent with a few persons of Caucasian and mixed origins. The currency used in Turks and Caicos is the US dollar.
Turks and Caicos has a total of 75 miles of roads. There are ports in Grand Turks, South Caicos, Providenciales, and Salt Clay, and airports on Grand Turk, South Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos, and Providenciales. Shipping lines include Tropical Shipping Co., Agency Vulcan Shipping Co., Caicos Caribbean Airways, and Continental Shipping Co. Air service includes American (twice daily), Bahamas Air (twice weekly), Canada 3000 and Air Canada (weekly), Inter-Island Air (local charter), Skyking (local charter), and Turks & Caicos Airways (local schedule). Within the islands, small plane service is the primary means of food transportation.
Consumer Trends and Attitude Towards Imports
People shop in supermarkets and grocery stores because there are very few of the village shops one finds on other Caribbean islands. Consumers are, by and large, willing and financially able to try new products, and very used to US products and culture because of a great influx of US visitors and the ubiquitousness of US cable television. Most people on these islands have refrigerators and microwaves.
Most people walk or drive to shop at the nearest store. In general, people go food shopping a couple of times a week, with the woman being the main decision-maker when it comes to purchasing food. In the BVI, migrant workers from other Caribbean islands (Eastern Caribbean, Trinidad, and Jamaica) reportedly go food shopping on an almost daily basis.
Local agricultural production is limited to small quantities of vegetables, fruits, and livestock, and almost all food is imported. The market has a particularly favorable attitude toward the United States, and US food products are generally preferred over most other origins. The US is currently the major food supplier to each of these territories. Imports from the UK are the closest competition to US imports.
The Wholesale Food Sector
Anguilla is a small island, so the wholesale operations are quite limited. All of the larger supermarkets also sell on a wholesale basis, but none of these companies offers delivery service. Anguilla wholesalers include Albert's, Ashley's and Sons, and the Fair Play Food Center. These companies import for their own supermarkets, and then also sell to the hotels and restaurants on the island. Most food products are imported through Miami. Wholesalers in St. Maarten supply some supermarkets in Anguilla.