U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, second from l, with Trinidad & Tobago PM, Kamla Persad-Bissesar during his arrival in T&T Monday night, May 27, 2013.
NEWS AMERICAS, PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD, TUES. MAY 28, 2013: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden today insisted the United States’ remains committed to deepening economic collaboration and expanding prosperity and social inclusion in the Caribbean region.
In his meeting today with 15 Presidents, Prime Ministers and other senior ministry officials from the Caribbean region, Biden signed the United States – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on behalf of the United States.
President Martelly of Haiti, serving in his capacity as Chair of CARICOM, signed on behalf of the 15 member states. The Agreement provides a strategic framework and principles for dialogue on trade and investment issues of mutual interest. The TIFA establishes the United States – CARICOM Trade and Investment Council that will guide implementation of the Agreement.
Biden said the United States supports the region’s economic growth and social inclusion efforts through multiple, complementary programs that contribute to: building strong, capable and transparent institutions; facilitating trade and creating favorable business and investment climates; expanding access to reliable, clean, and affordable energy; and investing in human capital so that citizens are prepared to contribute to the development of their communities.
Caribbean leaders for their part also discussed citizen security cooperation and the importance of building safe communities that contribute to a favorable business and investment climate.
During bilateral meetings between Vice President Biden and Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar of Trinidad and Tobago, the two leaders discussed a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance cooperation on the scientific, technical, and policy aspects of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies. The MOU establishes a Renewable Energy Research Centre to promote the rapid deployment of critical technologies for renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment in the Caribbean.
In 2012, U.S. imports from Caribbean countries under the Caribbean Basin Initiative totaled more than $11 billion, representing a 178 percent increase over the past decade. U.S. exports equaled nearly $12 billion, representing a 133 percent increase over the past decade.