Above: US Vice President Joe Biden and Trinidad PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar (Photo: OPM Trinidad)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
United States Vice President Joe Biden and Haiti President Michel Martelly signed a US-CARICOM Trade and Investment Framework Agreement agreement on Tuesday during the former’s visit to Trinidad and Tobago.
The agreement took place following a meeting between CARICOM Heads of Government and Biden in Port of Spain.
In a statement, CARICOM said the agreement was expected to “drive strengthened trade and investment ties between CARICOM and the United States as it would serve as a mechanism for the two sides to develop practical strategies on a wide range of trade, investment and economic cooperation issues.”
“This is seen as essential to spurring economic development and diversification of the Region, and to contributing to improvement in the well-being of our citizens,” CARICOM said.
The agreement will be executed under the mechanism of the CARICOM-US Trade and Investment Council. That body is led by a nominee of the CARICOM Chair and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Haiti President and current CARICOM Chair Michel Martelly had called for a joint US-CARICOM Summit during the CARICOM Meeting of Heads of Government in April.
The agreement’s “initial action agenda” sets out several areas for joint attention, including bilateral trade and investment agreements, regional and multilateral cooperation and the “facilitation and of trade and investment opportunites,” according to the statement.
CARICOM said the agreement would also address the “digital divide,” by promoting innovation and the dissemination of technology.
Caribbean leaders said one of the issues of “critical and urgent importance” to the region was the “threat faced by CARICOM exports of rum in the US market” and the US-Antigua gaming dispute.