Minister of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick (FP)????

Government has announced a number of financial and technical initiatives that would allow scores of local business persons to cement their presence in untapped international markets.

Minister of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick, outlined the proposals today during the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation’s workshop entitled: The Economic Partnership Agreement and Other Trade Agreements: What are Some of the Benefits for Barbadian Manufacturers and Exporters? It was held at the Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre, Princess Alice Highway, St. Michael.

Noting that the global marketplace represented a significant opportunity for Barbadian businesses to expose their goods, he revealed that Government would strengthen the Foreign Trade Division to undertake greater and more in-depth research and development work, to improve Barbados’ international trade competitiveness.

Dr. Estwick also alluded to the strict adherence by industries to internationally recognised standards in the production of goods and services. He mentioned one-on-one consultations with the private sector on ways of improving production and exploiting prospects under the African Caribbean and Pacific-European Union Economic Cooperation Agreement and the Economic Partnership Agreement, as initiatives that would allow companies to benefit from the opportunities that were enshrined in the various trading arrangements.

The Economic Affairs Minister further explained that government was also involved with the regional effort to design and negotiate the requisite trade accords between CARICOM and other hemispheric groups.?? He also disclosed that plans were in train to "orient Barbados’ overseas offices, to effect the promotion of its export trade in goods and services".

While pointing out that trade was a crucial element in a nation’s development, Dr. Estwick warned that there were other areas which the country must pay attention to in order to move forward during the economic crisis.

Given this situation, he said Government had implemented a number of measures which not only saved jobs, but had reduced the current unemployment levels to 9.2 per cent.

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