U.S. Updates Trade and Investment Pact with Caribbean Nations
Vice President Joe Biden signed an updated trade and investment framework agreement with the 15-member Caribbean Community May 28. Sources at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said that the revised agreement includes provisions on labor, the environment and other issues not included when the original TIFA was signed in 1991 but that the trade- and investment-related provisions are not significantly different.
A White House fact sheet states that the TIFA is one of numerous ways the U.S. is supporting economic growth and development in the Caribbean. Other activities cited include the following.
- facilitating trade, which over the last decade has yielded a 178% increase in U.S. imports under the Caribbean Basin Initiative and a 133% increase in U.S. exports to the region
- working to adapt the U.S. Small Business Center model in Belize, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados and Dominica with the goal of providing better services to small and medium-sized enterprises and thereby generating more jobs in the Caribbean and facilitating greater regional trade
- concluding open skies air transport agreements with six Caricom members
- assisting Haitian apparel producers in complying with national and international labor standards so they remain eligible for tariff benefits under U.S. preferential trade programs
- supporting research and capacity building activities to address child labor in the Dominican Republic and Haiti