Denis Kellman, Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, delivers an address at the Networking Session for Barbadian and Costa Rican business people, yesterday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Costa Rica. (F.Ince/BGIS)

Barbados, the region and Costa Rica possess the determination to build stronger political and economic relationships, which should help them to be more competitive on the international trading stage.

This view was expressed last evening by Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman, as he delivered an address at the Networking Session for Barbadian and Costa Rican business people at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Mr. Kellman said the existence of several agreements demonstrated that both countries were interested in forging stronger ties. "Over the last 20 years, we have laid the foundation on which we must now build. I refer to the conclusion of the Economic, Technical and Commercial Agreement, the Mixed Commission, which is an important mechanism for political dialogue, the Visa Abolition Agreement and the CARICOM-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement," he noted.

He told the gathering that the three-day mission, which ends today, was intended to strengthen and deepen political and cultural ties and advance the economic interests to the mutual benefit of the countries involved.

"We are all keen to discover what Costa Rica can offer us and to showcase some of the best that the region can provide to you. We have had many useful engagements with the public and productive sectors since our arrival and we look forward to more of the same," he stated.

The Minister re-emphasised that the companies on the mission could help to create economic opportunities and jobs back in the Caribbean, all the while helping the economy of Costa Rica to grow. He added that in an effort to help Costa Rica achieve its green economy goal, Barbados was willing to offer it renewable energy in the form of photovoltaics and solar panels.

"We are also hoping to create synergies with tourism, industry and other services. In the days ahead, we will be eager to find new business partners here and revitalise existing business relationships," Mr. Kellman disclosed.

The trade mission includes a number of government officials, members of the private and public sectors, as well as representatives of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. Prior to coming to Costa Rica, the delegation spent six days in Panama, where meetings were held with business people and descendants of Barbadians living in that country.


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