In the coming week, Barbados will be seeking to increase its exports to Panama and Costa Rica, as well as to strengthen its diplomatic and cultural relations with these Central American countries.
To this end, Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, will head an official diplomatic and commercial mission to Panama and Costa Rica from October 18 to 26. The delegation will include the Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman; Barbados’ Ambassador to Washington, John Beale, who has responsibility for Panama and Costa Rica; Permanent Secretary in the Foreign Trade Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Bentley Gibbs; and Director of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, Sonja Trotman.
Several representatives from the private and public sectors will also be participating in the mission. They include Invest Barbados, the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation and a number of local companies.
Financial assistance for the visit has been provided by the Caribbean Export Development Agency to undertake this important initiative. As a result, a regional component has been included, that will see six persons from the Chambers of Commerce in Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and St. Kitts/Nevis accompanying the mission. Two officials from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Secretariat will also attend.
The objectives of the mission are to showcase this island’s products and services, enhance the foreign exchange earning capacity of local businesses, and provide local manufacturers and service providers with the opportunity to establish business relations and commercial contacts within those markets.
It is also expected to identify possible sources of raw materials for local producers, promote Barbados as a tourist and business investment destination, and facilitate increased market penetration through direct export, joint ventures and or franchising.
During the mission, there will be displays of goods and services, networking receptions, official visits to various businesses in those Central American countries, business-to-business meetings and a get-together with the Barbadian diaspora in Panama. In addition, discussions will take place at the ministerial level on a number of trade, aviation, tourism and diplomatic matters.