Caribbeancentral America Conference To Start Monday
By Claudio Mendonca
The annual Caribbean Central American Action conference will sweep into Miami on Monday with 600 or more experts focusing on strengthening the economies of 21 democratic nations and three territories in the Caribbean and Central America.
"The purpose of this meeting is to create strong private-sector organizations in Central American and Caribbean countries. We argue that foreign investment in these countries are not coming to the required levels," said Federico Sacasa, president of the Caribbean Central American Action. The meeting, he said, is designed to produce aggressive leaders in those countries.
A hot topic will be the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement for 2006, especially in regard to economic conditions and forecasts and the impact of independent ratings on the region and its financial systems. A panel will also discuss how that agreement is viewed as igniting other free-trade pacts.
"What people don’t realize is that the six countries in CAFTA are the third-largest partner with the US, only behind Canada and Mexico," Mr. Sacasa said. "The six countries combined have a market that almost doubles Brazil."
The three-day congress will feature presentations from regional leaders including Nicaraguan President Enrique Geyer, Honduran President Ricardo Maduro, El Salvadorian Vice President Ana Vilma Alvarez and St. Lucian Prime Minister Kenny Anthony.
Also to speak are Frank Lavin, undersecretary for international trade in the US Department of Commerce; Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States; Kimberly Avsec of the US Coast Guard; Adolfo Franco of the US Agency for International Trade; and Anthony Wayne of the US Department of State.
Mr. Sacasa, who is expecting 600 to 700 participants at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Miami, said other focal points are tourism, transportation, commerce and port security and compliance with International Shipping Port Security rules.
Caribbean Central American Action was formed in the late 1970s to promote private-sector development in the region. This is its 29th annual conference.
Mr. Sacasa said the organization was instrumental in helping draft the Caribbean Basin Initiative legislation passed by Congress in 1983. The law provided preferential tariff treatment to goods produced in the 21 countries and three territories.Details: www.c-caa.org or (305) 532-7950.