Call for more Florida-Caribbean trade

FLORIDA, United States, July 31, 2008 – One of the top officials of the Organisation of American States (OAS) has urged businessmen in Florida to cash in on trade with Caribbean countries and suggested that the state form a united agenda on doing business with the region.

Assistant Secretary General Ambassador Albert Ramdin told them that the region’s trading arrangements offer prospects for expanded market for their products and services.

“Tourism, health services, value-added agriculture, high-tech services, financial services; energy products, and cultural items for the large Caribbean Diaspora represent key sectors for development in the Caribbean,” he told the business leaders. “Eco-tourism and cultural tourism are on the rise; agriculture is being expanded for high-value products such as cacao, coffee, limes, mangoes and coconuts for export.”

Describing the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as the most successful integration system after the European Union, he highlighted the Single Market as an avenue to enhance business promotion and entrepreneurship. He said the Caribbean Court of Justice as CARICOM’s highest court of appeal “is another significant step in providing judicial certainty to individuals, business community and nations.” 

“It is not only in the interest of the Caribbean, but also in your own interest,” Ramdin said in his keynote address to the second annual meeting of the World Affairs Council and the World Trade Center of Tampa Bay, Florida.

“For the State of Florida in general, and for Tampa in particular, given the proximity to the Caribbean, it is important to strengthen political and economic relations and to work towards a comprehensive agenda of collaboration, not only in trade, but also in culture, education, and other areas,” he added.

“There are opportunities, but if these are not used or if the relationship deteriorates because of economic problems, there will also be risk.”

In addition to proximity, the OAS Assistant Secretary General said the Caribbean region offers potential Florida investors advantages of language, comparable legal systems and relative peace.

He said that overall, the investment climate is generally an inviting one.

“Taking advantage of these could be a good win-win for Tampa and the Caribbean in bringing home the advantages of an integrated market with commercial links and new personal relationships on which to build a long-term, stable market,” said Ambassador Ramdin.