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Nov 12, 2019

Boosting Trade Between Belize and Barbados

The economies of Belize and Barbados are dependent on tourism, but there are other opportunities that can open up for further trade between both countries. This is why a mission from Barbados is in the country. Representatives from ten companies are looking at new markets and similarly, Belizean counterparts, particularly in the agricultural sector, want to expand its access into the regional market. Here is News Five’s Duane Moody.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A Barbados Commercial Trade Mission is in Belize to increase trade between both countries. As it currently stands, one point four million U.S. dollars in goods and services are traded annually from Barbados to Belize; one point nine million U.S. dollars in agricultural products are exported from Belize to Barbados. Minister of Investment, Trade and Commerce, Tracy Panton says it is a step in the right direction as it relates to improving trade within the CARICOM region.

 

Tracy Panton

Tracy Panton, Minister of State, Investment, Trade & Commerce

“We keep talking about the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and we keep talking about regionalization and how important it is for our very survival. Regionalization or economic ties don’t happen if business to business contacts don’t happen. And so this mission is important. We buy a lot of our products outside of CARICOM and so they are here to offer what they can offer us in terms of commodities and certainly there will be opportunities for exchanges with their Belizean counterparts as well.”

 

Barbados is one hundred and sixty-six square miles with a population of about two hundred and eighty thousand persons. The tourism industry is its driving revenue generator, but Business Development Officer Sharon Walton say that they are trying to give a boost to the many other industries on the island.

 

Sharon Walton

Sharon Walton, Business Development Officer, Export & Business Development Unit, BIDC

“The BIDC is an arm of government which has been charged with increasing exports. In addition, we work with manufacturers, small businesses.  Our main revenue is tourism; it used to be manufacturing, but it is tourism. In terms of the manufacturing sector, we have been rolling out a number of programmes to help to improve the sector with export being the main thrust.”

 

In a first instance, the Barbados Investment Development Corporation is in Belize this week to network with private sector stakeholders on establishing relationships to boost trading between both countries. The counterpart of the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, BELTRAIDE, BIDC is hosting a two-day expo which began today and is featuring ten businesses representing a cross-section of industries.

 

Sharon Walton

“What we are doing in Belize is just one of the initiatives that we have in order to raise exports within CARICOM. We have brought ten businesses and there are fourteen participants representing at this trade mission. There is a range of businesses; we have food which is our largest sector. We have ICT and then we also have printing and publishing. Our mandate is to increase exports and bringing the companies here; hopefully we are looking to get some business and that will eventually increase the exports from Barbados. But in addition to increasing exports, we are also looking for that collaboration with Belizean companies because we don’t want to have a one-way stream. We want to cooperate and have some joint ventures and that kind of thing.”

 

Tracy Panton

“The ministry has three main objectives: facilitating trade, promoting investment and also ensuring that commerce can happen. And commerce can only happen, as said before, if we can bring the private sector partners together to have those discussions so that we can support not only our local economy but also the regional economy.”

 

The expo precedes an outreach to the Spanish Lookout Community on Thursday. Duane Moody for News Five.


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