Foreign policy and defense
Saint Kitts and Nevis have extensive
cooperation with neighbors in the Caribbean, and the
ties are also strong to the US and the EU. Regional
cooperation is primarily about economic cooperation.
With the US, Saint Kitts and Nevis have a security
Saint Kitts and Nevis are members of the regional
cooperation organization Caricom (Caribbean Community),
whose 15 members, among other things, strive to create a
common economic market. In 2006, the first step was
taken when six members founded what is called a single
market (Caricom Single Market, CSM). This means that
members have common duties on goods from other
countries, that capital and labor can be freely moved
between the countries and that members revise economic
laws in order to make them more coherent. In the long
term, a common currency will be introduced. Saint Kitts
and Nevis have joined the united market.
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in St. Kitts and Nevis for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The country is also part of the Eastern Caribbean
Cooperation Organization OECS (Organization of Eastern
Caribbean States) which has the ambition to become a
counterpart to the EU. The seven OECS members share the
same currency and a joint central bank. Citizens of the
Member States can also travel freely within the OECS
area and trade barriers between countries have been torn
Criticized tax haven
The ties to the US and the UK are strong. Both the US
and EU countries favor imports from Saint Kitts and
Nevis through various agreements. The country is also a
member of the US-backed Security Policy cooperation
Regional Security System and has an agreement with the
United States to combat drug smuggling. The agreement
gives the US military and Coast Guard the right to
strike at suspected smugglers on the territorial waters
of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The country's low taxes and liberal financial sector
have led to some wear and tear in relations with the
United States and other Western countries. Following
pressure from the Western Economic Cooperation
Organization (OECD) in the early 2000s, a series of laws
were made that made it more difficult for criminals to
use the country's banks to "launder" money (converting
illegal income into legal through various transactions).
As a member of Caricom, Saint Kitts and Nevis also
participate in a collaboration with the UK to strengthen
the legal institutions and prevent money laundering.
The measures led to Saint Kitts and Nevis being
removed from the OECD's so-called black list of
non-cooperative tax havens. However, the country
remained on the OECD's "gray list" which meant that the
measures implemented were not considered sufficient. In
2009, new laws were passed to meet the OECD's
requirements and then the country was also removed from
the "gray list". However, Saint Kitts and Nevis continue
to receive criticism from the US and the EU for not
doing enough to stop tax evasion and money laundering.
Assistance from Taiwan and Japan
China and Taiwan are trying to trump each other with
promises of aid to the countries of the Caribbean. The
intention is to win support for each line in the mutual
conflict over Taiwan's status. Saint Kitts and Nevis
have chosen to stand on Taiwan's side and in return have
received financial support from the Taipei government.
Among other things, the airport in the capital
Basseterre and the city's central square have been
expanded with Taiwanese money. Taiwan has also
contributed money to the education sector and cultural
Saint Kitts and Nevis also receive assistance from
Japan, which is linked to the fact that the country in
the International Whaling Commission has supported
Japan's demand to resume commercial hunting for whales.
Within the framework of the Petrocaribe oil
cooperation initiated by Venezuela, Saint Kitts and
Nevis and a number of other countries in the region can
buy Venezuelan oil with good credit and favorable
In 1997, the country's defense was reestablished
after being shut down since 1981. The emphasis was on
building a coastguard unit with the task of fighting
drug traffickers. At the same time, a minimal army
compound and a police force were set up. Saint Kitts and
Nevis have military training agreements with the United
States and the United Kingdom.