Region prepares for Washington
As the region prepares for a new administration in Washington, Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA) hosted leaders from business, government, international institutions and organisations for the 40th Annual Conference on the Caribbean and Central America in Coral Gables, Florida, from November 20-22.
The conference featured presentations, workshops, and site visits, and included discussions on technology, the financial services sector, arbitration and mediation, trade policy, regional security (a special session at the US Southern Command Headquarters), and other timely issues.
Coming on the heels of the recent elections in the US, CCAA used the conference as an opportunity to examine the priority areas of engagement as the Caribbean and Central America region look towards 2017, when a new administration will be in place in Washington, DC.
In partnership with the Americas Business Dialogue, a programme of the Inter-American Development Bank, a special workshop was held where regional trade facilitation professionals from the public and private sectors discussed the implementation of the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The TFA provides a framework for streamlining trade and maximising competitiveness in today's global economy. Studies show that the ratification and effective implementation of trade facilitation measures can substantially reduce trade costs; the positive effect of this on import prices, export competitiveness, and economic growth is axiomatic.
AmCham President Ron McKay, who is also on the CCAA board, noted that the conference brought to the fore trade issues experienced across the Caribbean and Latin America, while creating effective solutions to these crucial economic development issues facing Central America and the Caribbean.
He added that the region would see a renewed thrust in lobbying for a regional TFA Agreement, which will also impact Jamaica. "As a CCAA board member, this puts me in direct contact with regional leaders and those in Washington, benefits for AmCham, especially with us signing the MOU with CCAA."