Trinidad’s Ambassador, His Excellency Dr. Neil Parsan participates in Caribbean American Legislative Forum on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, DC – On June 27, 2013, His Excellency Dr. Neil Parsan participated as a panelist at the Caribbean American Legislative Forum, hosted by the Institute of Caribbean Studies at the U.S. Library of Congress. His Excellency contributed to the panel discussion on “Foreign Economic Policy” which also featured Executive Director of Caribbean-Central America Action, Ms. Sally Yearwood.

In his presentation, Ambassador Parsan highlighted the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United States, addressing, more specifically the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). CBERA is a permanent arrangement which grants unilateral duty-free treatment on imports of certain eligible articles from CBI (Caribbean Basin Initiative) beneficiary countries.

Dr. Neil Parsan (2nd Right) on Capitol Hill

The CBERA program has been described as a critical medium-term instrument for the economic development and export diversification of the economy.

Ambassador Parsan argued that the waiver on CBERA (currently set for expiration in 2014), should be extended in order to continue to allow preferential access to the US market for the small and vulnerable economies of CARICOM.

Ambassador Parsan also addressed the recently signed Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). The TIFA was signed by the U.S. and CARICOM in Trinidad and Tobago during the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to our shores. The agreement is expected to drive strengthened trade and investment ties between CARICOM and the United States, as it would serve as a mechanism for the two sides to develop practical strategies on a wide range of trade, investment and economic cooperation issues. His Excellency mentioned that in order for CARICOM to take full advantage of the TIFA, a clear and concise strategy needs to be adopted.

His Excellency Dr. Neil Parsan also touched on the Renewable Energy Sector in the Caribbean and highlighted the many initiatives that several Caribbean countries have undertaken.

In 1998 the Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme was established, whilst in 2013 the US and Trinidad and Tobago signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of a Renewable Energy Research Centre at one of the country’s universities. Ambassador Parsan mentioned successful renewable energy projects in Belize, Barbados, Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The importance of the Caribbean Sea was also highlighted briefly during Ambassador Parsan’s presentation. The Sea holds enormous potential for eco-tourism and sport fishing and Ambassador insisted that Caribbean countries should work together to design policies for the management and protection of this resource.

Established in 1993, the Institute of Caribbean Studies is dedicated to providing a forum for the private sector, non-governmental community, and others interested in promoting dialogue on the economic and social issues of people of Caribbean heritage.

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