Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett, a member of the House Ways and Means, Budget and Agriculture Committees released the following statement on the successful House passage of the Caribbean Trade Resolution (H.Res 1168), which reaffirms the economic partnership between the United States and the Caribbean:
This resolution is the product of a year’s worth of work by my office, and today would not be possible without the bipartisan support of my colleague from across the aisle, Representative Wenstrup, and his leadership, for agreeing with me that it is appropriate for there to be a focus on U.S. trade reengagement with the Caribbean. The United States has a duty to support these neighboring nations, and reciprocal trade relations is one of the mechanisms to do that.
The resolution emphasizes and commits to enhance the economic partnership between the United States and the Caribbean region through strengthened trade engagement, including by: promoting equitable economic growth and development across the region; engaging directly with diverse stakeholders from the Caribbean; and supporting critical trade policies and preference programs.
The Caribbean, along with Latin America, has been severely tried in recent years. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), we’ve seen a larger GDP contraction from the Caribbean and Latin America than any other region in the world. Simultaneously, the per capita deaths from COVID have been greater from the Caribbean and Latin America than any other region in the world.
Furthermore, many of the islands and countries in the Caribbean have recently experienced severe natural disasters, such as the recent earthquake in Haiti, and numerous other extreme weather events like hurricanes.
Now, the Ways and Means Committee will be taking a hard look at what is needed for the Caribbean. As this resolution provides, we will engage with diverse stakeholders, including CARICOM Trade Ministers, policymakers, as well as labor, business, and civil society representatives, to dialogue and develop a shared multilateral trade agenda.
This posture of strengthening U.S. trade and investment with the Caribbean is now the position of the U.S. House of Representatives concerning trade engagement with the Caribbean. I would like to thank my colleagues for their hearty support of this bill.
Editor’s note: Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett is the delegate to Congress from the U.S. Virgin Islands.