CROSQ MEETING DISCUSSES COMPETITIVENESS OF SMES IN THE REGION

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Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development, Cephas Gooding (at right) in discussion with Acting Director of the Barbados National Standards Institution, Anthea Ishmael (at left).

 

Regional Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) stakeholders, have been advised to take note of the “importance of standards and quality in today’s world”.

The advice came from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development, Cephas Gooding as he addressed a Caribbean Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), meeting at the Savannah Hotel, which focused on “Enhancing Competitiveness of SMEs through Standards and Quality—Big Benefits for Small Business”.

“Countries use standards to protect the health and safety of citizens as well as to facilitate social, cultural and economic development. Barbados is no exception in this regard. And this can be confirmed by reference to our Standards Act, which sets out a legal framework for the use and application of standards in our country,” he said.

Permanent Secretary Gooding noted that the Standards Act was not the only piece of legislation informing how standards are applied here. “The Weights and Measures Act, the Fair Competition Act, and the Town Planning Act are all examples of legislation influencing the use and application of standards; and there are many other pieces of legislation of relevance in this connection.”

To date, Barbados has over 300 national standards. Of these, 46 have been implemented as compulsory standards. The remainder are implemented as voluntary standards.

The Permanent Secretary said it was crucial that “persons doing business in Barbados should be familiar with the standards which are relevant to the products and services which they intend to offer to the local market”.

Likewise, he added that “persons wishing to offer products and services in overseas markets should familiarise themselves with the standards prevailing”.

Mr. Gooding elaborated on what he described as an increase in international trade in services over the past 15 years, noting that he believed this component was growing at a much faster rate than trade in goods.

“This suggests that services provide opportunities which SMEs wishing to engage in international trade can exploitAnd, here I must remind you, that in Barbados the services sector forms the pillar of the economy. You therefore need to take careful note,” he said.

Acting Director of the Barbados National Standards Institution, Anthea Ishmael noted that today’s meeting was in an effort to boost the competitiveness of SMEs in CARICOM in order to facilitate the export of goods and services and the process of integration in the region, the hemisphere and the world.

“This is part of a regional project through CROSQ and we hope to enhance and improve competitiveness of SMEs in the Caribbean,” she said.

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