U.S. considers more regional trade benefits

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 U.S. 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 the U.S. has grown from US$15.7 to US$21.8 billion, an increase of 39 percent.

Since l983, 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 the initiative.

Currently, 17 countries and dependent territories receive benefits under the CBI Recovery Act (CBERA). Seven of those countries and dependent territories receive benefits under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTA).

The meeting also discussed replacing the l991 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 U.S. would host the next meeting of the Trade and Investment Council in 2013.

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