Trinidad fosters business links between Central America and Caribbean
More than 60 business leaders from Central America and the Caribbean have met in Trinidad to discuss expanding trade
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, Thursday, May 24, 2012 – A gathering, which represented billions of dollars in business interests from Central America and the Caribbean was hosted by the Organisation of American States (OAS) in Trinidad and Tobago recently.
More than 60 business leaders from Central America and the Caribbean met last week in Port of Spain, to discuss new opportunities for partnerships and expanding business between the two regions, as well as challenges to trade.
Convened by the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert Ramdin, and hosted by the government of Trinidad and Tobago through the Minister of Trade and Industry Stephen Cadiz, the meeting was also addressed by the President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli.
The forum was used to identify opportunities for investment and partnerships in several countries. Barriers to business, including transnational business registration laws, visa restrictions, port congestion problems, taxes, duties and tariffs were, also discussed.
Top conglomerates, public and private companies, business families, and government representatives and ministers, including Alberto Alemán Zubieta, CEO of the Panama Canal Authority, Representatives of the Ansa McAl Group, Neal and Massy Holdings, Guardian Holdings, Demerara Distillers, Grupo Unicomer, Cabcorp and Bridgestone, as well as regional airlines, manufacturers, producers associations and banks, took part in the closed door meetings were representatives of.
The major trading blocs of the two regions were also present at the meeting, represented by the Secretaries General of Central American Integration System (SICA), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).
Cadiz said of the meeting, "This gathering proves that investment capital is available, so options and opportunities must be generated. We are, therefore making a solid commitment to working together to overcome these challenges to business. We need to do more and smarter business in this current global economic environment."
Ramdin said the vision behind the meeting was to use international trade and business diplomacy to "generate more opportunities for employment, increase earning potential, economic growth, alleviate poverty, and improve security." According to Ramdin, "If we hope to improve the quality of life for citizens of both regions, we need to be practical and proactive. Central America and the Caribbean face similar challenges. If businesses succeed in these regions, it means a better standard of life for people."
The first meeting of CEOs of both regions was held in El Salvador last year, and resulted in the strengthening of business partnerships and new investments. The Port of Spain meeting is expected to result in more strategic investments. The government of Guatemala has offered to host the next meeting in that country.