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US And CARICOM Restate Commitment To Trade And Investment

by Leroy Baker,, New York

22 June 2007

The government of the United States has reaffirmed its commitment to promote trade and investment between the US and the CARICOM nations, and intends to cooperate on a new information technology pact.

A joint communique issued by the White House and the 15 CARICOM governments following talks on Wednesday stated:

"We, the Heads of State and Government of the United States of America and of the Caribbean Community Nations reaffirm our unequivocal commitment to a secure and prosperous region and future for the benefit of all of our citizens."

"We recognize the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy as a critical element of the growth and development strategy of the Caribbean Community."

The governments said that they are "determined to strengthen our existing trade arrangements", and restated their support for expanding the services sector, particularly in international financial services.

"We acknowledge President Bush's announcement to work with Congress to extend and update the Caribbean Basin Trade Promotion Act and the 1991 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. We further commit to the harmonization of customs procedures consistent with global standards and the advancement of technical trade cooperation," the statement continued.

"We reiterate our support for Caribbean efforts to expand the services sector, and encourage a focus on the international financial services sector to facilitate a competitive means of economic diversification while remaining committed to the maintenance of appropriate regulatory and supervisory practices, consistent with the highest international standards."

The communique also announced forthcoming negotiations on an IT cooperation agreement:

"We declare our intention to negotiate an agreement on cooperation in Science and Technology including Information Communication Technologies."

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