U.S. Advances Trade Relations with Caribbean, Central Asian Nations
The inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Caribbean Community Council on Trade and Investment was held in Washington, D.C., Nov. 15 following the signing of a bilateral trade and investment framework agreement this past May. According to a press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the two sides discussed enhanced cooperation in multilateral fora, an increased focus on intellectual property protection, the development of e-commerce infrastructure and the removal of barriers to bilateral trade as important work to be done under the TIFA.
CARICOM comprises Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. USTR notes that the U.S. trade relationship with CARICOM was worth about $22 million in 2012, with $11 million in U.S. imports (led by mineral fuel, chemicals, and iron and steel) and $11.7 billion in U.S. exports (led by mineral fuel, machinery and cereals).
A day earlier, the eighth meeting of the U.S.-Central Asia TIFA Council was held in Turkmenistan. According to USTR, the plenary session of this meeting saw discussion on the overall trade and investment environment in Central Asia and the U.S. as well as energy trade, investment, World Trade Organization membership, customs and procurement. Trade, transit and investment between Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and Afghanistan was also discussed. Earlier in the week the TIFA working groups on customs, energy trade and women’s economic empowerment met to discuss these issues and plan future work.