Chamber attends Miami conference

Chamber of Commerce President James Tibbetts, Chamber CEO Wil Pineau and Councilor Farried Sulliman recently participated in a series of workshops at the 31st annual Miami Conference on the Caribbean Basin.

Organised by the Caribbean-Central American Action, the conference serves as the only forum that focuses solely on small economies of the Caribbean islands and Central American isthmus, stated a Chamber press release

This year’s theme, A Region poised for Growth, highlighted the need for and the growing interest in investment in industries other than tourism. The conference also discussed areas such as technology and renewable energy and offered public policy workshops with government officials dealing with competitiveness, maritime security, disaster preparedness and corporate social responsibility.

Delegates discussed the continuing integration movement which began with the Federation in 1958 and has only recently resulted in the Caribbean Single Market, with full integration for independent states expected in 2008.

From the Central American Free Trade Area of 1958 and SICA in 1991, and now CAFTA, it has been a long process for the land connected countries of Central America to embrace cross border trade and investment and move aggressively to solidify their social and economic ties with each other and the United States.

‘Regional integration is advancing at a much faster pace and it is essential that we understand how these new trade agreements could impact the Cayman Islands economy,’ said Mr. Tibbetts.

‘The conference united leaders from the public sector, the business community and civil society together in a constructive open dialogue to address issues affecting the region and its economic prospects.’

The conference focused on the continued high cost of energy in the Caribbean and Central America with regard to the possibilities that bio-fuels and other alternatives allow and how security or lack of a comprehensive approach to these issues may serve to hurt these fragile economies.

International and regional speakers at the conference included Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding; Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Alexander Ingraham; Dan Sullivan, United States Assistant Secretary of State for Economics, Energy and Business Affairs; David Emerson, Minister of International Trade for Canada; Pasquale Minicucci, Senior Vice President International Banking Caribbean for Scotiabank; and Jose Perez-Jones, Chairman of CCAA and Senior Vice President of Seaboard Marine Ltd.