Commerce Minister to lead five-day trade mission to CARICOM
MINISTER OF INDUSTRY, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, will lead a delegation on a five-day CARICOM trade mission aimed at generating increased exports to St Lucia, Grenada and Guyana.
The initiative is intended to uncover more opportunities for Barbadian exporters, and further enhance the development of trade relations, joint ventures and other investments which could yield economic gains for Barbados.
Organised by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), the mission will see some 17 local companies marketing their products and services through business-to-business meetings and consultations.
The delegation will also include Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Philmore Best; three BIDC export and business development personnel; a representative from the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA), and foreign service officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Corey Archer.
Participating companies from the food, beverages, condiments, printing and professional services sectors will leave Barbados on Sunday, January 24, bound for St Lucia. The mission party moves on to Grenada on Tuesday, January 26, with the final stop in Guyana on Thursday, January 28.
One of the highlights of the visits to St Lucia and Grenada will be the signing of Memoranda of Understanding between the BIDC and the St Lucia Trade and Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) and the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation. The ministerial party will also seek to explore opportunities for further expanding exports to Guyana, as well as inward investment in areas where Barbadian companies can compete. The prospects for exploring increased trade with Brazil via Guyana’s partial scope agreement with that country will also be investigated.
Chief executive officer of the BIDC, Sonja Trotman, reiterated the BIDC’s commitment to assisting Barbadian exporters in their quest for a larger slice of the markets where they can compete. In 2014, some $48.4 million dollars in Barbadian goods were shipped to Guyana; $29.7 million to St Lucia; and $18.5 million to Grenada.
Trotman added: “We believe there are still many untapped opportunities for innovative companies willing to explore niche areas and provide high quality goods on par with imports from larger international suppliers.”
The mission is one of the major activities in the BIDC’s Going Global programme, and is the first of several other outbound activities to expand both Barbados’ export market space and the number of companies exporting.
The theme for the CARICOM mission Embracing Our Region, underscores the desire for greater collaboration between Barbados and its regional partners and neighbours. A second mission to the northern CARICOM is scheduled for later in 2016. (BGIS/BIDC)