TIFA Will Be Essential To Spurring Caribbean Growth – according to U.S. State Department Official
The United States – Caribbean Community Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, (TIFA), will be essential to spurring economic development and diversification of the region and to contributing to improvement in the well-being of citizens.
So says Anthony Eterno of the Caribbean Affairs Office of the Western Hemisphere Division in the US State Department, who on Wednesday, June 4th delivered a speech on “Investing In The Caribbean: The US’ Perspective,” at the 2013 Avalon Invest Caribbean Now forum held in New York City by digital media company, Hard Beat Communications in collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
Eterno, who has over 15 years experience in Washington and overseas, including extensive service in the Caribbean, told the audience of more than 150 ministers, private sector investors from the U.S, Chinese representatives and the media, that the TIFA will include “matters relating to the WTO; bilateral trade and investment arrangements; cooperation in regional and multilateral areas; and support for regional integration (as well as a) focus on the digital divide through the promotion of innovation and the dissemination of technology.”
The U.S. State Department official’s comments came on the heels of the U.S. Vice President’s Caribbean trip to sign the TIFA on May 28th. Eterno insisted that the United States is “creating a positive investment climate at the local level as well, making tangible progress in numerous communities across the region, noting that the U.S. State Department is actively using an “Economic Statecraft“ approach that uses the tools of diplomacy abroad to support trade and the rights of U.S. investors abroad.
“Ours is a relationship that is borne out of a strong desire by all of our countries to collectively participate in an improved and sustainable future,” stated Eterno. “This is the kind of relationship that makes us stronger as partners. And I can tell you that in many of the private conversations I have had with business leaders, government officials, unions, friends, and even family from the Caribbean, that because of this long-term focus and our proven commitment, the Caribbean knows in its heart of hearts that the United States has its back. In fact, as we see the positive results of this strong partnership materialize, creating economic growth and prosperity for all of our citizens, we realize that we all have each other’s back.”
Other speakers and presenters at the Avalon ICN 2013 included Dr. Rufus Ewing, Premier of the Turks & Caicos Islands; C. Washington Misick, finance minister of the Turks & Caicos Islands; Alan Loewenstein, managing partner of Wedgewood Investment Group; Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization and Commissioner of tourism of the USVI, Beverly Nicholson Doty; Miguel Reyna, director, Port Business Development and Asset Management, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.;Felicia Persaud, founder of Invest Caribbean Now and CMO at Hard Beat Communications; Heather Flossiac of Belle Vue Properties of St. Lucia; E. Jay Saunders, CEO of Digicel TCI; Brian Lilly, founder of One Caribbean Television and Ganesh Ramanathan, creative director at Hard Beat Communications; Dr. Grace Lappin of Avalon Partners, Inc. and Arthur Piccolo of the Bowling Green Association.
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean International copped the prestigious “ICN Corporate Leadership Award” for 2013 for it’s over $200,000,000 investments in the Caribbean region in the past 10 years.
Invest Caribbean Now is the brain child of Felicia Persaud and is now in its third year.
Kara Coleman, news anchor of One Caribbean Television emceed the forum which was sponsored byAvalon Partners; The Turks & Caicos Islands Investment Agency; Royal Caribbean Cruise, Ltd; One Caribbean Television, the American Chinese Commerce Development Association and The Chinese American Business Development Center.