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Maritime Security - A Critical Trade Issue

Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA), announced recently that Regional Maritime Security will be prominent among the issues on the agenda for the December 5 to 7, 2005 Miami Conference on the Caribbean Basin due to its critical importance to trade flows in the region.

Trade facilitation and the constraints to efficient trade within the hemisphere are among the issues political leaders are discussing at their fourth summit now in session in Argentina, and this month’s Miami Conference will provide for follow-up discussions involving both the private and public sectors representing nations in the Caribbean Basin and their major trading partner, the United States.

In the wake of 9/11 and the increased incidents of terrorist threats worldwide, the Caribbean Basin continues to be seen as vulnerable.Although most of the ports in the region have met the ISPS deadline, compliance with security requirements are difficult and costly.  Can these countries afford not to mobilize resources, both financial and human to improve security and respond to potential threats? Most importantly, according to Mr. Edmunds is “whether the Caribbean Basin should create a regional standard consistent with identified best practices which could also allow for the true assessment of security needs. We cannot afford for the Third Border to be deemed insecure.”

CCAA has been leading public-private sector initiatives on the issue of maritime security and trade in the region, partnering with the Caribbean Shipping Association, the Port Management Association of the Caribbean, the Florida Ports Council and other entities including carriers such as Tropical Shipping and Seaboard Marine.  Most recently, the organization has led the implementation of public-private sector initiatives, partially funded by USAID, both in the Eastern Caribbean and Haiti. In Haiti, the initiative seeks to address identified deficiencies in that country’s ports.

This year’s Miami Conference session includes discussants from the US Coast Guard, Florida and regional ports and private sector leaders concerned about the issue.

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