U.S., Caribbean countries to boost trade
Vice President Joe Biden and Haitian President Michel Martelly signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) this week in Port of Spain which will provide a forum for bilateral talks to enhance trade and investment and discuss specific trade issues between the United States and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
The 15 member countries of CARICOM include Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2012, U.S. exports to the CARICOM countries were $11.7 billion, up 6 percent from 2011. The leading categories of U.S. exports to the CARICOM members in 2012 were mineral fuel, machinery, and cereals, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
The United States and CARICOM signed an agreement establishing a Trade and Investment Council (TIC) in 1991. That agreement will be replaced by the TIFA.
The United States-CARICOM Council on Trade and Investment, created pursuant to the TIFA, will address a range of trade and investment issues, such as facilitation of trade and investment, multilateral cooperation, intellectual property rights, worker rights, environmental protection, and removing barriers to bilateral trade, the White House said. The council will meet later this year.