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by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

31 May 2013

On May 28, in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Vice President Joe Biden and Haitian President Michel Martelly signed a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA), which will provide for a forum to discuss specific trade issues between the United States and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The 15 member states of CARICOM are Antigua and Barbuda, The 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, US exports to those states were USD11.7bn, up 6 percent from 2011, with the leading products being mineral fuel, machinery and cereals.

"We are honored that Vice President Biden and Haitian President Martelly signed the TIFA, which provides us with a valuable framework to discuss trade and investment issues," said Acting United States Trade Representative Ambassador Miriam Sapiro. "We will work diligently to strengthen our relationship with CARICOM in order to expand trade and investment, create jobs across the hemisphere, and enhance competitiveness."

The US and CARICOM signed an agreement establishing a Trade and Investment Council in 1991. That agreement will be replaced by the TIFA. The new Council will address a wide 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 Council will have its first meeting later this year.

TAGS: Haiti | Suriname | Bahamas | Montserrat | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | trade treaty | Belize | Grenada | Jamaica | Trinidad and Tobago | agreements | Antigua and Barbuda | Dominica | Guyana | Saint Kitts and Nevis | United States | trade | Barbados

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