April 28, 2006
CARICOM agree to advance trade with US


WASHINGTON, USA: Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-US trade relations received a boost last week, as a result of a decision by the two sides to revitalize a long-dormant Trade and Investment Council (TIC).

This decision was reached at a meeting of CARICOM Trade Ministers with United States Trade Representative Rob Portman in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday afternoon.{{more}}

One of eight CARICOM Ministers at the meeting, Anthony Hylton, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, said of the encounter, “We came away with a practical mechanism on which to build further on CARICOM-US trade relations. The TIC will provide an important forum for dialogue on trade relations.”

The CARICOM-US TIC was established in the early 1990s, with Ambassador Bernal, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the US at the time, serving as lead spokesperson for CARICOM in that forum.

The concept of a revitalized Council is being put forward as that architecture needs to take account of “new circumstances.” The Council will enable consideration of a wide range of trade and investment related issues.

At the meeting, co-Chaired by Kenneth Valley the Minister of Trade and Industry of Trinidad & Tobago for the CARICOM side and Ambassador Portman, CARICOM emphasized that it attaches great importance to its trade relations with the United States, a major export market for the Region.

Minister Valley noted that the meeting provided CARICOM with an important opportunity to apprise Ambassador Portman on key trade issues germane to the Region.

The CARICOM Co-Chair described last week’s encounter, the first of its kind between CARICOM Trade Ministers and their US counterpart since he took office, as an “excellent first meeting, that allowed for a frank exchange of views on trade issues germane to CARICOM.”