|Denis Kellman, Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, addresses a ‘Networking Reception’ for business people in Panama, yesterday at the Radisson Hotel in Panama. (F.Ince/BGIS)
Barbados and Panama are eager to formalise their trade relations in a framework which lends itself to reliability, transparency and predictability.
Word of this has come from Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman, who said those traits were key ingredients to the realisation of a mutually beneficial relationship.
Mr. Kellman made the comments last evening while addressing a Networking Reception for business people in Panama, as part of the activities for Barbados’ Trade Mission, which is currently being undertaken in that Central American country.
He told his audience that the Caribbean was convinced they could, together, unlock one of the greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century. "Along with representatives of the Government, are members of our regional private sector, who will be showcasing some of the best that the region has to offer you. We are equally keen to discover what Panama can offer us.
"In the days ahead, we will be eager to help these companies find new business partners in Panama. The companies on this mission can help to create economic opportunities and jobs back in the Caribbean region, all the while helping Panama grow its own economy," Mr. Kellman pointed out.
The Minister noted that in recent times important advances had been made to deepen the relationship between Barbados and Panama. He listed the initiatives as the conclusion of a Double Taxation Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding on Air Services which both countries signed in 2010 and 2011, respectively. "The signing of these Agreements demonstrates that both Barbados and Panama possess the determination and vision, as developing countries, to build stronger political and economic relationships, which will enable us to be more competitive on the international trading stage.
"These instruments will also facilitate increased opportunities for tourism, trade and commercial activity between the two countries. We must build on what we have accomplished together to date," he urged.
A display of Products from Barbadian Companies at OECS exhibition at the Radisson Hotel in Panama. (F.Ince/BGIS)
Mr. Kellman said those involved in the trade mission had many useful engagements with the public and productive sectors since their arrival on Monday. He explained that the purpose of the mission was to strengthen and deepen diplomatic and cultural ties, as well as advance economic interests to the benefit of the countries.
During the address, he reminded the business people that the history of Panama, Barbados and the wider Caribbean was intertwined, since many left the region to assist with the construction of the Panama Canal during the 1904 to 1914 period. Upon completion of the waterway, he stated, the majority of them did not return to the Caribbean, but set up homes in Panama and started families there.