The Business Forum of the Greater Caribbean finds its origin in the concern expressed by Heads of State and Government of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) with respect to expanding and strengthening trade relations among the countries of the Region, and in the conviction that market access is not sufficient to increase trade, in addition to which it is necessary to create a unique business culture in the Greater Caribbean so as to make full use of possible opportunities.
they issued the mandate for the Business Forum of the Greater Caribbean
to be held on an annual basis, simultaneously with the Forum of Trade
Promotion Organisations, for the purpose of promoting co-operation among
these organisations and enhancing relations among the Member Countries
of the Association of Caribbean States.
The countries which comprise the ACS represent 71% of all Latin American and Caribbean countries, with a population of 227 million. The GDP amounts to $751 million, 43% of Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole, and they export 64% of the goods and services of the region.
To date, three Business Forums have been held: The 1st Forum took place in Margarita Island, Venezuela, in October 2000, and was attended by 350 companies of 22 countries. The 2nd Forum was held in Mexico City, in October 2001, and on that occasion, there were 203 Delegates from 159 companies, organisations and governmental institutions of 19 countries. The 3rd Forum was convened in Costa Rica, in September 2002, with participation from delegations from 20 countries, 302 companies and governmental entities. The number of business encounters was estimated at 767.
The results of these three events were very satisfactory. Each meeting presented entrepreneurs, governmental authorities and other personalities with the opportunity to meet and discuss the key issues of common interest on the international trade agenda as it relates to business development in the Greater Caribbean, numerous interviews and meetings were held as part of its Business Encounters, where regional businessmen could attest to their trade potential.
The 4th Business Forum of the Greater Caribbean will take place in the City of Santiago de Cuba, on June 10 - 11, 2003, in the framework of the Caribbean International Trade Fair (EXPOCARIBE), which will provide a favourable environment for this event.
The 4th Forum of Trade Promotion Organisations of the ACS and the 13th Meeting of the ACS Special Committee on Trade Development and External Economic Relations will be held concurrently with the 4th Forum, on June 9 and 12, respectively.
This event offers, once more, the opportunity for the exchange of experiences with the Region Government Authorities and entrepreneurs and for the consolidation and strengthening of the relations among the 28 countries of the ACS.
The work program of the Business Forum includes conferences and workshops on current issues of common interest, as well as business encounters that would facilitate multidirectional trade and investment.