JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Industry, Investment, and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, is encouraging regional private sector interests to embrace the proposed Services of the Caribbean (SOCA) initiative.
  • The initiative seeks to position the services sector as the new focus of United States-CARICOM trade and investment relations, under the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI).
  • Speaking at a public forum, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Jamaica (AmCham), at the Jamaica Pegasus, on March 18, Mr. Hylton described it as a “creative initiative” that should augur well for the Caribbean.

Industry, Investment, and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, is encouraging regional private sector interests to embrace the proposed Services of the Caribbean (SOCA) initiative.

The initiative seeks to position the services sector as the new focus of United States-CARICOM trade and investment relations, under the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI).

Speaking at a public forum, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Jamaica (AmCham), at the Jamaica Pegasus, on March 18, Mr. Hylton described it as a “creative initiative” that should augur well for the Caribbean.

“If we can get (the administration of) the President of the United States (Barack Obama) to say ‘this (SOCA) is something we are prepared to examine and to look at closely, and to work with you on’, then I think we would have achieved something significant for this initiative,” he contended.

The emphasis on services in the CBI comes as regional stakeholders contend that, as the Caribbean’s most dominant sector currently, it should replace the 30-year old goods-based preferential regime, which is no longer deemed reflective of the region’s economic reality or the bilateral trade and investment relationship between CARICOM and the United States.

Mr. Hylton thanked members of AmCham Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados chapters, for spearheading the lobby effort, in having discussions with the US government and business leaders and organizations.

In the same vein, he encouraged private sector stakeholders, particularly service providers, to embrace and support the initiative.

Noting that the CARICOM Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) has given its endorsement of the initiative, Mr. Hylton emphasised that “all of our private sectors should be interested…because, if we can get it done, and I do believe we have more than a chance, and if you start with the United States Chamber of Commerce on your side, (then) you’re really starting more than 50 per cent along the way.”