Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, has heaped praise on one of the region???s leading export development agencies, and called for its continued vision and leadership in developing the export sector in the CARIFORUM region.
Speaking this morning at the launch of the inaugural Caribbean Export Awards Programme at Baobab Tower, Warrens, Mr. Inniss stated that partnerships with entities such as the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) and the European Commission were critical to helping develop the business sector throughout the region and here in Barbados.
Commending the design of the inaugural award and hailing it as ???vibrant and visionary???, Mr. Inniss noted that from his Ministry???s perspective, they were fully behind and supportive of the initiative.
He revealed that his Ministry had recently taken on responsibility for the Economic Partnership Agreement, and added that it intended to work closely with the European Commission and the CEDA to ensure that greater access to the European Market would be a reality.
??????Far too often the discussion has been about export outside of the region and I think we have to do a lot more as we look at exports and certainly intra-regional trade as well. We also must not lose sight of the importance of trade and services???and we have started to build capacity in that area, thanks in part to the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries which is part of this Ministry as well???,??? he opined.
Executive Director at the CEDA, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, told those gathered that the launch of the inaugural Caribbean Exporter of the Year Awards aimed to strengthen an export culture in the CARIFORUM by recognising outstanding exporters.
She said: ???We are aware that there are several exporters who every single day, trade their goods and services with the rest of the region and beyond. The awards will therefore recognise those firms that are successfully exporting as evidenced by their export volumes, the diversity of their export markets and the use of sound export strategies and action plans??????
Ms. Coke-Hamilton further added that in 2013, the total CARIFORUM exports were estimated to be US$51 billion and the average contribution of exports to GDP was 17 per cent for goods and 36 per cent for services.
???At this period in our region???s history, where economic growth is projected to be marginal for 2015, Caribbean Export believes in the power that exporters have to contribute to sustainable growth. Now is the time to support our exporters and assist them to expand further, because in so doing, we are not only helping a firm increase its bottom line, but moreover, we are impacting the economic well-being of our entire region and our people,??? she underscored.
The inaugural awards will highlight the Emerging Exporter of the Year; Young Exporter of the Year; Female Exporter of the Year; Green Exporter of the Year; Caribbean Exporter of the Year and a Special Award ??? Excellence in Services Exports.