Ian Saunders, deputy assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere, US Department of Commerce (Photo: US Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago)

US to mount trade mission to the Caribbean

Ian Saunders, deputy assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere, US Department of Commerce (Photo: US Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago)

The United States is planning a Caribbean Region Trade Mission and Business Conference for October, a senior US official has announced.

US Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Ian Saunders said that the mission, which is being undertaken in partnership with the US embassies in 14 Caribbean countries, will connect US companies to opportunities in the Caribbean region.

(Photo: AmCham Jamaica)

He said that the “Trade Americas — Business Opportunities in the Caribbean Region Conference” will feature region-specific sessions, and resources on market entry strategies, export compliance, logistics, disaster resilience and recovery, and trade financing.

It will also include sessions on financing and legal and transparency issues.

Saunders made the disclosure as he delivered the feature address virtually at the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AmChamTT).

In his address in which he focussed on the themes of competitiveness, transparency, and security as pillars that support economic growth and job creation in the United States and in the Caribbean, Saunders said that the North American country acts in its own and in the Caribbean’s best interest when Washington helps neighbouring countries build open economies and create opportunities.

“Let me assure you that the United States will remain a steadfast and committed partner, as we work to move our region towards its enormous potential as an engine of growth, opportunity and poverty reduction for its own citizens and for the global economy,” he said.

(Photo: Houston Chronicle)

Saunders also spoke of the importance of economic engagement between the United States and the Caribbean, particularly with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’s devastating effects in terms of lost lives and suffering.

In the face of this monumental challenge, he noted that all governments are asking how to deliver prosperity, jobs, and hope for their people.

Saunders said that the pandemic’s strains on public finances have led to the deferral of public infrastructure projects or worse, caused countries to turn to new sources of debt finance that do not operate with the same transparency as private capital markets.

He listed among those concerns, addressing climate change, accelerating energy transition, ensuring security, improving healthcare, and the need to build infrastructure.

He told the more than 300 delegates that governments cannot and should not address these challenges alone.

Meanwhile, Toni Sirju-Ramnarine has been named the AmChamTT president, making her the second-consecutive woman voted into the post.

Toni Sirju-Ramnarine became the second-consecutive woman to serve as president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Trinidad and Tobago. (Photo: Youtube)

Sirju-Ramnarine, who serves as vice-president of corporate operations at Atlantic, told the chamber’s 28th annual general meeting and business forum that “in 2021 and beyond, we will continue to lead with a commitment to diversity at the heart of our operations and publicly advocate for measures to create a society with fewer inequalities and more opportunities for all.”.