Barbados seeking to strengthen commercial links with Panama
NINE BARBADIAN MANUFACTURING and services companies will be leaving Barbados for Panama on Sunday to participate in a series of pre-arranged business to business meetings set as part of a five-day political/commercial mission.
Led by Barbados’ Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business, Donville Inniss, the mission is intended to enhance policy dialogue and the exchange of business information, while strengthening the network of business support organisations, promoting trade, and exploring investment opportunities which could yield economic gains for both territories.
The mission is being spearheaded by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), with support from the Barbados Ministry of Foreign affairs and Foreign Trade. The Mission team will include permanent secretary Philmore Best and from the BIDC business development officer Humphrey Broome and manager, export and business development Paula Bourne.
During the visit, the Barbadian delegates, representing firms from the food and beverage, printing and packaging, transport and construction services sectors, will engage in business to business meetings, consult with business support organisations and agencies and explore opportunities for the development of trade relations, joint ventures and other investments. There are also scheduled tours to business and industrial facilities.
The companies participating in the mission are: The West India Biscuit Company (WIBISCO), Coral Isle Foods, HIPAC Ltd, O’s Inc, Jay’s Enterprises, Digilabels. L&N Workshop Inc, Oran Ltd and the Barbados Agricultural Development Management Company (BADMC).
Barbados already enjoys a longstanding relationship with Panama having established diplomatic relations in August 1975. The relationship is manifested in the areas of trade, investment and tourism.
BIDC CEO, Sonja Trotman however noted “With respect to trade, there are still many untapped opportunities to explore and significant scope to grow. This visit follows our participation in Panama’s biggest trade fair, Expocomer in March this year, which sought to explore potential demand within the Panamanian market and indicated good prospects for our companies”.
She added “The mission is the third of several other outbound activities scheduled for this year under our Going Global Programme, to expand both Barbados’ export market space and the number of companies exporting.”
Barbados’ exports to the Panama market have averaged approximately just BDS$633 043 in 2015, comprising mainly of liqueurs, rum, printed labels, machinery used in industrial processes and sails. This was down from exports valued at BDS$ 1.2 million in 2014. Barbados’ imports from Panama meanwhile, were valued at just over BDS$10 million in 2015 and 2014. The main items imported were medicines and pharmaceuticals, tissues and paper towels, sanitary products, linen and clothing. (PR)