Patterson's interest in regional cooperation is evident from his role as chairman of CARICOM. He continues to stress the importance of a single market economy and free trade area of the Americas and supports the development of regional institutions such as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and The University of the West Indies (UWI).
Patterson seeks to widen linkages with traditional partners, North America and Europe. He is also working to ensure that North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) takes full account of the needs of Caribbean countries, and hopes to gain access to the U.S. markets on the basis of parity. In April 2001, Patterson, along with other Caribbean leaders, met with U.S. president George W. Bush for the Summit of the Americas in Quebec, Canada. There, officials inaugurated the "Third Border Initiative," a plan designed to ensure U.S. cooperation with Caribbean nations and enhance economic development and integration of the Caribbean nations. Patterson also continues to work toward attracting U.S. investment, and supports efforts for the creation of a Free Trade Area of the Americans (FTAA).
Patterson has increased links with Africa in order to pursue trade in addition to cultural exchanges.