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TTCSI LEADS REGIONAL COALITION TO LOBBY US CONGRESS

TTCSI LEADS REGIONAL COALITION TO LOBBY US CONGRESS

TTCSI launches Services Of the Caribbean (SOCA) in Washington D.C.

The Trinidad & Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) will launch the Services of the Caribbean (SOCA) on Thursday, 21st November 2013 at the 37TH Annual Conference on the Caribbean and Central America in Washington DC.

SOCA is an initiative that arose out of the concerns by stakeholders within the Services Sector, who are lobbying for CARICOM to expand the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI/CBERA circa 1983) trade preferences to include trade in services.

At the launch, TTCSI will explain the new SOCA partnership with other regional private sector interests and DC-based advocacy firm, Manchester Trade, to create new opportunities for CARICOM-US trade in the services sector.

Since its establishment by the TTCSI, American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica (AmCham Jamaica) and American Chamber of Commerce of T&T (AmCham TT) have joined the initiative with several other regional private sector firms and institutions expressing support and interest.

Speakers at the event will include Nirad Tewarie, CEO of TTCSI and Chairman Services of the Caribbean (SOCA), Becky Stockhausen, Executive Director AmCham Jamaica and Co-Chair SOCA, Sally Yearwood, Executive Director Caribbean Central American Action, Nicholas Galt, Chairman Association of American Chambers of Commerce in
Latin America (AACCLA), Stephen Lande, President Manchester Trade José Raúl Perales, Executive Director AACCLA / Director Americas, US Chamber of Commerce.

TTCSI’s CEO, Nirad Tewarie, who is also the Chairman of SOCA says, “While the benefits that the CBI has brought to-date cannot be underestimated, an expansion into services would definitely take into consideration the structure of CARICOM economies, which are heavily skewed toward services trade, and the importance of services to the
countries.”

He says that the economies of the Caribbean are heavily dependent on activity in the services sector. Therefore, with many Caribbean countries facing crippling national debt, expanding trade with the region’s largest external trading partner, the United States, is a surefire means to recovery.”

It is with this in mind, he says, “Upon renewal, stakeholders would like to see the expansion of these trade preferences to include trade in services.
Thus, to help achieve this goal, the TTCSI is spearheading the initiative, SOCA.”

SOCA is a multi-year program to develop, design, and implement a policy and business advocacy campaign to promote the enhancement of the United States CBI/CBERA circa 1983 preference program, with an expansion into the services sector.

This initiative will also publicize the existence of a vibrant Caribbean services industry, which has the capability of supplying services across all modes to the United States and even to third countries through US intermediaries.

In addition, Tewarie says the industry can work for or with US companies in furnishing services to the region. “The objective of this effort will not only put the Caribbean on the map in the development of services policy, and increase chances for the expansion of the CBI to include services, but will also develop business opportunities that are beneficial to its members.”

In the investment arena, Tewarie says US investment inflows to the region have also increased during the CBI period and in the past five (5) years have averaged US$4bn.

He explains while services are not a de jure component of CBI, CARICOM economies have developed competitive services sectors, which trade and invest actively with the US and attract robust US services investments into the region.

The challenge, he says for the region in its trade preference relationship with the US is how to improve CBI provisions for non-goods trade (e.g. services opportunities, including downstream energy services), and how to use this to expand the USCARICOM CBI trade and investment regime and relation.

“Thus, in this sense CARICOM’s experience with the incorporation of services in the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) may be instrumental.”

Data today suggests that CARICOM has been successful in trading in services in the US market under double taxation agreements and bilateral investment treaties; inclusion of services in the CBI will allow for greater diversification and export opportunity for the services industries in Caribbean economies, Tewarie notes.

The TTCSI is a national, business support organization, which is made up of organizations in the services sector. With 47 member associations, TTCSI is the voice of services representing a diverse range of sectors including professional services, to business services, energy services, medical services, tourism services, creative industries
& ICT.

For more information visit www.ttcsi.org, email ddickson@ttcsi.org or call the Secretariat at 868.622.9229.