US policy ignored region ‘too long’

A United States Congressman has admitted that his country’s foreign policies have disregarded the Caribbean for an unduly long period.

However, Republican Mark Green said if he had his way and the bipartisan House Resolution (HR) 7579 Western Hemisphere Nearshoring Act is passed, the region could benefit significantly.

“What’s good for the United States is good for the Caribbean and what’s good for the Caribbean is good for the United States. Unfortunately, for too long US foreign policy largely ignored our neighbours in the Western Hemisphere, particularly the Caribbean, and we’ve seen the detrimental effects of that detachment,” he said.

Green was delivering an address Thursday during the opening ceremony of the Upturn Funds Caribbean Investment Summit being held at Hilton Barbados Resort.

Nearshoring is the process of hiring a team or company to provide specific services to a business from another location, usually a nearby country.

Green said if passed, there could be a huge amount of investment, immigration and infrastructural improvements to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“According to estimates from the Inter-American Development Bank, nearshoring can add an annual $78 billion in additional exports of goods and services in Latin America and the Caribbean in the near medium term.

“In 2021, GDP in Barbados was estimated at US$4.9 billion and a huge influx of capital from nearshoring would mean massive growth if concentrated in countries like Barbados,” he added.

While not criticising the region for engaging China, he issued a caution.

“I don’t blame countries for partnering with China. They are a country that has economic means, opportunity means and we harbour no ill will, but understand that investment from China comes with a price.

“However, [HR 7579] addresses investment through ultra-low interest development finance corporation loans while urging countries to reduce bureaucratic red tape, streamline permitting and embrace free market principles. The bill is a win/win. It makes US supply chains less vulnerable to communist China and it will create more jobs and economic growth in the Caribbean and Latin America,” the Congressman said. (TG)

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