CARICOM And Japan To Work Closer
Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda the Hon. Gaston Browne has pointed out that space exists to develop trade and Japanese investment in the services industries in the Caribbean such as tourism, financial services and technology when he addressed the Opening Ceremony of the CARICOM-Japan Summit in Trinidad and Tobago on Monday.
The Antigua and Barbuda leader during the ceremony commended the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his government’s efforts to increase trade around the world and made reference to the beneficial effect the efforts have had on Japan’s economy and on trade partners as well.
“Over the 10 year period 2003-2012, Japan has enjoyed a significant trade surplus with our member-states collectively. In 2012 alone, Japan’s trade surplus with our sub-region was US$621 million,” PM Browne outlined.
Prime Minister Browne also outlined CARICOM’s desire to explore ways in which Japan might effectively address the matter through aid-for-trade mechanisms or greater investment in the sub-region.
The country’s leader also suggested to the Japanese Prime Minister ways Japan can assist CARICOM in boosting the economies. He highlighted investment by the Japanese private sector as one of the areas.
“There are many opportunities that could be mutually beneficial. For instance, CARICOM countries are very keen to pursue Renewable Energy options, including solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and bio-energy – all of which lend themselves to public sector-private sector partnerships. As a world leader in energy conservation through the development of new energy technologies, Japan could provide tremendous support to CARICOM in building capacity in Renewable Energy Technologies,” Prime Minister Browne told the Japanese Prime Minister.
In 2011 the CARICOM road transportation sector consumed up to 65% of energy imports at a cost of approximately US$2 billion. It is believed that Japan is a leading supporter of fuel-cell vehicles which can run five times longer than electric cars.
Prime Minister Browne also made mention of the plan by two major car producers in Japan to launch hydrogen-based cars around 2015. It is widely believed that countries in CARICOM will be keenly interested in partnering with Japan to bring down their own costs of energy, and thereby reducing the cost-of-living of the people of the region.
Following the CARICOM-Japan Summit, Prime Minister Browne will travel to Venezuela where he will hold wide-ranging discussions with its President Nicholas Maduro.
Preceding the CARICOM-Japan Summit, Prime Minister Browne attended the OECS 59th Authority meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where discussions were held on the establishment of the Eastern Caribbean Competition Commission – an authority to regulate competition in the region. Discussions were also held on the work plan and budget for the OECS Commission.
While in St. Vincent, the country’s leader also attended a meeting of the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.
Prime Minister Browne is accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade the Hon Charles Fernandez, Consultant on International Trade Mr. Davin Joseph and Permanent Secretary Ambassador Colin Murdoch.
Prime Minister Browne returns to Antigua and Barbuda from Venezuela (the last leg of his six-day trip abroad) on Thursday. Attorney General the Hon. Steadroy Benjamin is the Acting Prime Minister during the absence from the State of Prime Minister Browne.
Source : http://antiguachronicle.net/politics2/item/1890-caricom-and-japan-to-work-closer
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