The Caribbean, which is described as the “third border” of the United States, is a leading trade partner in terms of the United States’s exports to the region and as the largest importer of Caribbean goods, a United States diplomat has said.
“Given our common interests and proximity, the Caribbean is our ‘third border’. The US-Caribbean 2020 Strategy guides our work in the region in six areas: security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health,” said Linda Taglialatela, US ambassador to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Barbados.
“The strategy aims to build the capacity of governments and partners to make progress in these areas to help meet the needs of the Caribbean people,” she said while pointing out that since 2010, the US Congress has appropriated nearly US$617 million for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), a shared security partnership with the Caribbean that supports efforts to reduce illicit trafficking, increase citizen security, and promote crime prevention
On the issue of trade between the Caribbean and the United States, she said that Washington remains the leading trade partner for the Caribbean in terms of exports to the region and as the largest importer of Caribbean goods.
“In 2016, the United States had US$4.6 billion trade surplus with the Caribbean, which indicates the region is an important market for the US economy.
“The United States supports our Caribbean partners through promoting stronger trade ties, open markets for the US exports, and private sector-led investment and development. We also encourage our partners to implement reforms that strengthen good, transparent governance,” the US diplomat said.
Taglialatela said of concern to the US as identified in the annual Special 301 report from the US Trade Office is the treatment of intellectual property rights in the region.