Acting Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade Industry and commerce, George Hutson??
It is vital for all stakeholders to work closely and think strategically on how we can mitigate the challenges that are being experienced by national and international businesses.
This call came today from Acting Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade Industry and commerce, George Hutson, at the opening of a World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Needs Assessment Workshop at the Accra Beach Hotel.
The Minister invited private sector partners to join with Government in seeking new and creative products that would find their way into the regional and extra-regional markets. He said it was especially important for the University of the West Indies to facilitate research and development of some of these new products.
Mr. Hutson suggested that the public and private sectors should work together to develop a new culture in the way that trade was facilitated. He added that this culture should embody "simplicity and transparency, …straight talk and common sense, one which encourages less meetings, more action and tangible results [and] a culture conducive to streamlining trade facilitation into the overall development strategy for Barbados" .
He pointed out that Government was always seeking new and innovative ways to create the necessary enabling environment for companies to exploit the world market and develop the economy into one which was prosperous, globally competitive and fully integrated into the world economy.
The Acting Trade Minister indicated that it was essential that Barbados utilised this opportunity to assess its needs in the trade facilitation process in order to revolutionise the way trade procedures were implemented.
He stressed that the workshop was important since it would allow Barbados to map out where it was and the resources needed for the country to participate efficiently and effectively in international trade arenas.
Mr. Hutson said: "In times like these, it is pertinent that all bottlenecks and obstacles existing with regards to exports or imports of goods be eradicated, so as to alleviate the burden of the cost of living and to give businesses a competitive edge within the global economy."
This, he maintained was very important for the industrial sector which played?? a crucial role in generating foreign exchange and was particularly "sensitive to the endogenous rigours of the trade arena".
He explained that, unfortunately, so far this year, as a result of the turbulent economic times, the industrial sector had not been able to generate the type of competitive advantage it desired.
The Minister contended that the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) was therefore crucial if this was to be achieved. He stated that ICTs represented a paradigm shift in the international trading arena, where the use of special-purpose technology and network systems guided the development of national economies and fostered arms-length relationships with suppliers and distributors across borders.
The one-week workshop, hosted by Barbados, in association with the World Trade Organisation, seeks to prepare this country to conduct assessments of its trade facilitations needs and processes to determine what programmes and procedures should be put in place for the future. It also aims to simplify and align trade-related procedures, of a regulatory or administrative nature, to help reduce costs and accelerate the delivery of goods across borders.