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The United States has recently appointed a new Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, His Excellency Roger Nyhus.
On Thursday, senior government officials, including Prime Minister Gaston Browne, formally welcomed Ambassador Nyhus to Antigua and Barbuda.
Ambassador Nyhus paid courtesy calls on Governor General Sir Rodney Williams, Prime Minister Browne, and Foreign Minister E.P Chet Greene during his visit.
In his discussions with PM Browne, the Prime Minister emphasized the significance of the United States to Antigua and Barbuda.
He highlighted that the US is the country’s largest trading partner and that the US enjoys a heavily imbalanced trading arrangement with Antigua and Barbuda. PM Browne noted that as small as the country’s economy is, it has a trade deficit of half a billion (US) dollars, and that the US is vital for the country’s food security.
“Eighty percent of our trade is with the United States and as small as our economy is, we have a trade deficit of a half billion (US) dollars. So, the US is very important from the standpoint of trade; even in terms of our food security, as a ‘food insecure’ country if the ships stop sailing for a few weeks from the US to A&B we will all starve,” Browne said
He pointed out that Antigua and Barbuda has supported the US in many international fora, and that it invariably supports US candidates presented for positions in international bodies.
PM Browne also drew attention to the outstanding WTO issue and requested that the new ambassador give it attention to arrive at an amicable solution.
Meanwhile Foreign Minister Greene also praised the long-standing friendly relations with the United States, which remain strong even when both sides disagree on a particular matter.
He added that these disagreements have never been fatal as the relationship has survived as well as thrived.
He anticipated that there will be robust exchanges during Ambassador Nyhus’s tenure in the Eastern Caribbean.