Trinidad and Tobago is the main regional partner for the forum and its Minister of Trade and Industry, Stephen Cadiz, has said that the Forum, under the theme "Cooperation, Development Win-for-all", would focus on key economic areas. These include, and are not limited to - Tourism, Infrastructure, Finance and Agribusiness. These areas were selected based upon careful analysis of the region’s developmental needs and the expertise of the People’s Republic of China.
The China Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum is the highest level of economic and trade dialogue mechanism between the two sides, whose mission is to facilitate trade and economic cooperation for common development. The first two Forums were successfully concluded in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica in February 2005 and in Xiamen, China in September 2007.
According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), China was the third largest Latin America and the Caribbean direct investor, accounting for 9% of FDI in the region, and the value of China's trade with the Caribbean and Latin America approaching US$156 billion.
However, after assessing the performance of these relationships over a ten-year period, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) stated that results indicated that high trade costs were curtailing business opportunities between China and the region. The IDB went on to make a recommendation that policymakers should join forces to cut tariffs, transportation costs and other barriers to diversify the composition of the bilateral trade between China and the region.
ECLAC noted that, in the medium term, it expected China's multinational corporations would continue to invest funds in the region, especially in the areas of infrastructure and manufacturing.