On Saturday, USTR held a meeting of the U.S.-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Trade and Investment Council in Georgetown, Guyana. Assistant United States Trade Representative (AUSTR) for the Western Hemisphere John Melle led the U.S. delegation. Director of Trade for Trinidad and Tobago Norris Herbert led the CARICOM delegation. CARICOM is a group of 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies. The Trade and Investment Council was established on July 22, 1991.
During the March 31 meeting, the United States and CARICOM leaders discussed progress towards a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). The United States expressed openness to a potential extension of benefits available under the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) to eligible CARICOM member states and other Caribbean nations. The Council agreed to explore greater cooperation on various issues including small businesses and intellectual property, among others. The United States and CARICOM pledged to continue close cooperation, and agreed to hold the next Council meeting in the United States.
Following the Council meeting AUSTR John Melle stated, “Our joint goal is for the Council to serve as a forum for deepening and strengthening our work on trade and economic issues. I am pleased to say that we made progress on a number of important issues and renewed our commitment to facilitate the growth of trade and investment among our countries.”