USTR Meets with Caribbean Trade Ministers
Zoellick in Jamaica to discuss the potential of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas
KINGSTON - US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick is meeting with Caribbean Trade Ministers in Jamaica to discuss the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), progress on global trade talks, trade capacity building, and closer trade ties between Caribbean nations and the United States.?
"Caribbean countries are an important voice in the dialogue on hemispheric economic integration through the FTAA, and in global trade talks at the WTO.? Through the Caribbean Basin Initiative, we have built closer economic links and helped to spur jobs and growth in both the United States and the Caribbean.? The 30th anniversary of Caricom - the Caribbean Community and Common Market - is a fitting occasion to continue our work on economic integration through trade," he said.?
The meeting of Trade Ministers follows a similar dialogue held last September in Trinidad, and will be held on the eve of the 24th Regular Meeting of the Caricom Heads of Government.??
Ministers are discussing how capacity-building initiatives can help Caribbean nations benefit more fully from trade negotiations.?
Over the past two years, US trade-related technical assistance has included more than $21 million for Caribbean regional projects.? Part of this assistance includes the Caribbean Trade and Competitiveness Program - a $6.5 million US project designed to promote private-sector growth and job creation in the hospitality, tourism, information, and communication technology sectors.
Negotiations among the 34 democracies of the Western Hemisphere on the FTAA are scheduled to continue, with vice-ministerial discussions scheduled to take place in El Salvador, July 7-11, and a Ministerial meeting this November in Miami, Florida.?
The US and Brazil are co-chairing the final stage of FTAA negotiations, which are sch eduled to conclude by January 1, 2005.
The US and the Caricom countries share $9 billion in total two-way trade in goods.? US goods exports to Caricom were $5 billion in 2002, a 53% increase since 1994. The US imported $4 billion of goods from Caricom in 2002.
Caricom member countries are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Suriname, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
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