US considering widening duty free access for Caribbean countries
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Tuesday, April 10, 2012 – The United States has agreed to consider granting unilateral trade benefits for Caribbean Basin countries and dependent territories that currently do not receive those benefits.
This was one of the key results outlined in a joint statement by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United States the following the conclusion of the recent meeting of the Trade and Investment Council (TIC) in Georgetown, Guyana.
Over the last three years, bilateral trade between us has grown from US$15.7 to US$21.8 billion, an increase of 39 percent.
Since 1983, the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) has granted unilateral duty-free treatment for imports of certain eligible articles from CBI beneficiary countries. The participants discussed the operation of the CBI and how to better take advantage of the opportunities available under that initiative. Currently 17 countries and dependent territories receive benefits under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). Seven of these countries and dependent territories receive benefits under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA).
US officials also committed to providing more support for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through their interactive website SBDCGlobal.com by collaborating with CARICOM member states to identify ways to bring additional SMEs into the SBDCGlobal.com web site.
The meeting also discussed replacing the 1991 Agreement Establishing a Trade and Investment Council with a 21st century Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and it was agreed to aim to complete negotiations as soon as possible.
It was also agreed that the United States would host the next meeting of the Trade and Investment Council in 2013.