Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on July 5. Secretary Blinken will participate in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government meeting and the 50th Anniversary of CARICOM celebration. Accompanied by Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian A. Nichols, Secretary Blinken will engage on pressing issues in the region and broader Atlantic cooperation with the represented heads of governments, including Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley.
Diasporas and Tourism
The United States and Trinidad and Tobago remain strong partners with large diaspora communities and robust tourism industries. Over 220,000 Trinbagonians live in the United States, primarily in New York and Florida. Meanwhile, many Americans travel frequently to Trinidad and Tobago.
Collaboration on Citizen Security
Through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), launched in 2010, the United States partners with Caribbean nations, including Trinidad and Tobago, to address security challenges. CBSI programs are organized along three overarching pillars: reducing illicit trafficking, increasing citizen security, and preventing youth crime and violence. Since CBSI’s launch, the U.S. government has provided nearly $832 million in funding to Caribbean partners.
The Department of State supports the recently established regional Crime Gun Intelligence Unit in Trinidad and Tobago, which facilitates collaboration and cooperation among regional and international law enforcement agencies including the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security; U.S. agencies including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Industry and Security; and INTERPOL. Vice President Harris recently announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will name an experienced DOJ prosecutor to be the Coordinator for Caribbean Firearms Prosecutions.
Climate, Energy, and Food Security
Addressing the climate crisis is a core element of the Biden-Harris Administration’s domestic and foreign policy. Vice President Harris launched U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC 2030) at the Ninth Summit of the Americas in June 2022 to work with the Caribbean to support efforts to unlock new financing for clean energy projects and build up resilience in the face of the multiplying challenges presented by climate change.
The United States recognizes the importance of the energy sector to Trinidad and Tobago’s economy and its role in global food and energy security. Strengthening energy security, a core strategic objective of PACC 2030, entails supporting countries in scaling up a modern, resilient, and clean energy system over the long-term while ensuring energy security. We applaud Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts to further decarbonize its gas sector and pursue new opportunities for industrial decarbonization including through deployment of clean hydrogen. We also support its efforts to decarbonize maritime shipping and welcome their support for the Green Shipping Challenge.
In addition, we know the Caribbean is experiencing the highest spike in food prices in a generation, and so the U.S. government is providing $28 million to the region, working in collaboration with Caribbean governments, as previously announced by President Biden at the Ninth Summit of the Americas.
Trade and Economy
The United States is Trinidad and Tobago’s largest trading partner. In 2022, total trade between our two countries topped $9 billion dollars, with nearly $1 billion in Trinbagonian exports entering the United States with preferential, duty-free access under the Caribbean Basin Initiative. Those dollar amounts contribute to our shared economic growth, increased business for our companies, and more jobs for our citizens.
Trinidad and Tobago hosts over 35,000 Venezuelan migrants. In FY 2022, the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration provided nearly $4 million in humanitarian assistance to international and non-governmental organizations to protect and assist Venezuelans and other vulnerable migrants in Trinidad and Tobago. This includes support for access to education, shelter and housing, health services, integration and livelihoods, among other sectors.