Jamaica Observer | Saturday, May 25, 2013
CARICOM-US to sign trade accord
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries will sign a trade investment framework agreement with the United States during the visit of Vice President Joe Biden to Trinidad and Tobago next week.
Biden is due in Port of Spain on Monday for a two-day visit and will also meet with regional leaders to discuss security and other issues.
A statement issued by the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat Saturday said that during the visit energy, security, human and social development as well as trade and investment will be among the general themes of the discussions on Tuesday.
The CARICOM leaders will also be joined by the Vice President of the Dominican Republic and according to the CARICOM Secretariat “a highlight of the encounter will be the signing of a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between CARICOM and the United States”.
CARICOM Chairman President Michel Martelly of Haiti will sign on behalf of the 15-member regional grouping, while Biden will sign on behalf of Washington.
“The meeting will chart the way forward for the TIFA including an initial action agenda intended to galvanise trade and investment activities both between the two sides and within CARICOM. To aid in this regard a Council will be established, led by a nominee of the CARICOM Chair and the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR).”
The Council is expected to meet at least once a year and would among other things monitor trade and investment relations, identify and work to remove barriers to trade and investment.
It would also facilitate expanded linkages between the private sectors on both sides. In 2011, the last year for which finalised figures are available CARICOM had a favourable trade balance with the US amounting to US$1.2 billion with exports totalling US$8.6 billion.