U.S., CARICOM seek to strengthen trade
Senior officials from the United States and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) met Friday to discuss enhanced cooperation in multilateral fora, an increased focus on intellectual property protection, development of e-commerce infrastructure, and removal of barriers to bilateral trade as important work to be done under the recently inaugurated U.S.-CARICOM Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro and Neville Totaram of Guyana, on behalf of CARICOM, co-chaired the inaugural meeting of U.S.-CARICOM Council on Trade and Investment.
“The United States looks forward to strengthening our partnership with CARICOM and tackling important trade and investment issues under the framework of the new council,” Sapiro said in a statement. “We have a large and growing relationship with our Caribbean partners. Working together, we have great potential to support job growth and boost competitiveness across the region.”
In 2012, two-way trade between the United States and CARICOM member countries was greater than $22 billion. These Caribbean nations shipped $11 billion in goods to the United States, while U.S. exports to the CARICOM members were $11.7 billion, up 6 percent from 2011.
Leading U.S. exports to the CARICOM countries in 2012 were mineral fuel, machinery, and cereals. Top exports to the United States from CARICOM included mineral fuel, chemicals, and iron and steel.
Vice President Joe Biden and Haitian President Michel Martelly signed the U.S.-CARICOM TIFA in May. CARICOM is comprised of 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies, including Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.