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Weekly Trade Spotlight: Trade with the Caribbean Community

On Wednesday, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk met with representatives of the member states of Caribbean Community (CARICOM). 

This week, Ambassador Ron Kirk is hosting a meeting with a delegation from CARICOM member states to further America’s trading relationship with CARICOM countries. This vital multilateral relationship between the United States and the Caribbean Community supports thousands of jobs. 

The Office of the United States Trade Representative has been actively involved in expanding America’s trading relationship with the Caribbean region since the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) was created in 1983. The CBI was initially envisioned as a program to facilitate the economic development and export diversification of the Caribbean Basin economies. However, after more than two decades, the benefits of the CBI have been felt in America as well. In 2009 alone, American companies exported over $8.2 billion of goods to the Caribbean Community. 

Environmental Fabrics Inc., based out of Gaston, South Carolina and employing 50 workers, manufactures geo-synthetic products for use in wastewater treatment and the collection of biogas. Exports to countries such as Trinidad and Tobago generate over 15 percent of the company’s total sales. In South Florida, Caricap Inc. is producing a wide array of goods such as plumbing material and pipes for export to the Caribbean. For workers across America, exports support well paying jobs that are crucial to help many families get through tough economic times. 

Businesses like these depend upon new markets for business expansion opportunities and workers depend on exports for quality, well paying jobs. And thousands of workers are needed in warehouses and ports to ensure that goods get to their destination in an efficient and timely manner. For America, trade with the Caribbean Community continues to play a role in the economic recovery of the United States.