Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, is hopeful that his recent commercial mission to Cuba will bear fruit for local manufacturers.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday after a tour of the Barbados Manufacturers??? Exhibition, more commonly known as BMEX, Mr. Inniss stated that although the Cuban market was not an easy market to penetrate, especially due to the language barrier, effort had been made to make the mission a reality.
???The BIDC conducted some research last year and we certainly worked very closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and I want to thank the Charge D???Affaires, Donna Forde, in Havana for her leadership and invaluable assistance for helping to coordinate things on the ground, as well as the Cuban Ambassador to Barbados and his colleagues and staff back in Havana, who went beyond to organise the meetings and events while there,??? he said.
Mr. Inniss cautioned that although positive results were expected from the trip, they might take some time to materialise.?????However, I expect over the next three months I will be able to announce specific products that will be entering the Cuban market from Barbados given the fact that some of them had done work hitherto and certainly has started to lay a foundation???but I expect that they will be the ones to make those announcements,??? he stated.
The Industry Minister also pointed out that with a population of 11 and a half million, and currently 3.5 million tourists, the Cuban market was poised to grow exponentially. ???We want to be in there now. We have had a long formal relationship with Cuba and I believe that we have a great opportunity now to expand our trade arrangement both ways,??? he stressed.
Mr. Inniss, along with Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, Sonja Trotman, led the commercial mission to Cuba from May 2 to 6.
It comprised Barbados??? leading biscuit company, WIBISCO; Caribbean Label Crafts, which is already a major exporter throughout the region and in some Spanish-speaking countries; McBride Caribbean, which specialises in household products such as insecticide; Automotive Art; Good Time Snacks Limited; Michael Greaves Associates, a logistics consulting firm; TORQUE-EPCM, an engineering company; and Roberts Manufacturing Co. Ltd.