BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday February 5, 2016 – Industry Minister Donville Inniss says Barbados needs to increase its export of goods and services to the rest of the world and the Caribbean region is the best starting point.
He says it’s the largest export market for Barbados and the one that offers the greatest potential.
Inniss was speaking at a press conference at the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), following a five-day Caribbean Community (CARICOM) trade mission aimed at generating increased exports to St. Lucia, Grenada and Guyana.
The latest statistics show that from January to September 2015, Barbados exported approximately BDS$259 million (US$129.5 million) in goods to the region. Minister Inniss said that on the current trajectory, the figure for 2016 could reach BDS$285 million (US$142.5 million).
“Many Barbadians might certainly not appreciate the volume of goods that we export in the region, and whilst these figures might seem significant, we didn’t get there just by sitting here in Barbados and believing others will buy what we produce…That is why the Board and management at the BIDC took the decision that we really need to go into the marketplace with those companies and service providers that we know are export ready, and to do so in a manner that will build strong linkages and relations with our partners in the other islands.”
Inniss explained that St. Lucia, Grenada and Guyana were chosen based on the volume of exports to those countries, as well as the already established relations. Up to September 2015, Barbados had exported approximately BDS$27 million (US$13.5 million) in goods to St. Lucia; BDS$14.6 million (US$7.3 million) in goods to Grenada; and BDS$49.9 million (US$24.95 million) worth to Guyana, and the minister said Barbados needs to improve those numbers.
“This mission was mounted with the intention of taking into those three territories, companies that we know have the synergies there; some of them are already exporting or they are certainly in a position to satisfy any demands of those markets,” he said.
“[The mission] was also designed to expose our manufacturers and service providers as to what is happening in the market place. It is one thing to sit here and read reports and to talk to people on the phone, but when you get up and actually go there you actually get to feel and experience what is happening.”
The ministerial party also took the opportunity to explore opportunities for further expanding exports to Guyana, as well as investment in areas where Barbadian companies could compete. The prospects for exploring increased trade with Brazil via Guyana’s partial scope agreement with that country were also investigated.