CARICOM signs trade and investment framework agreement with US

CARICOM signs trade and investment framework agreement with US

United States and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) May 28. The Document replaces and updates theAgreement that created the US-CARICOM Trade and Investment Council in 1991, and committed both parties to deepening their trade ties.

The Trade and Investment Council’s 4th Meeting, March 31, 2012, agreed to conclude negotiations for the Agreement as soon as possible. The 4th Meeting was held as part of the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the United States’ unilateral trade preferences program for the Central America and Caribbean region. The meeting’s Joint Declarationhighlighted the increase in bilateral trade between the two sides: in the past three years this has risen by 39%, from US$15.7 billion to US$21.8 billion. The main categories of exports of United States to CARICOM in this period were fuels, minerals, machinery, and cereals.

The new TIFA modernizes the 1991 Agreement, taking into account subsequent developments in the region, notably the multilateral trading environment created by the WTO and the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy in 2006, a strategy for deepening the bloc’s economic integration, which favored greater regional integration in the system of trade and the global economy, strengthening its trade ties with non-traditional partners.

The updated Framework Agreement, signed on the occasion of US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Haiti,[1] includes an “Initial Action Agenda,” covering a wide range of topics, such as trade and investment facilitation, multilateral cooperation, intellectual property rights, labor rights, social and environmental protection, and the elimination of barriers to bilateral trade.

The first meeting of the US-CARICOM Trade and Investment Council under the revised TIFA is tabled for late 2013.

Excerpted IDB-ITAL

IDB-INTAL. “US and CARICOM deepen trade relations,” in: INTAL Monthly Newsletter No. 128, April 2012.

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