There is a dire need to increase the exports of goods and services from Barbados to a global market.
And, Industry Minister Donville Inniss has insisted that this country must first start with the region, as it is the largest export market for goods and services from Barbados, and the one that offers the greatest potential for this country to increase its exports.
Mr. Inniss was speaking at a recent press conference held at the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), following a five-day CARICOM trade mission aimed at generating increased exports to St. Lucia, Grenada and Guyana.
Stating that the last statistics he had seen indicated that from January to September 2015, Barbados exported approximately $259 million in value of goods to the region, the Minister explained that with the current trajectory, the figure in 2016 could expect to reach $285 million in exports to the CARICOM region.
He continued: ???Many Barbadians might certainly not appreciate the volume of goods that we export in the region and whilst these figures might seem significant, we didn???t get there just by sitting here in Barbados and believing others will buy what we produce???
???That is why the Board and management at the BIDC took the decision that we really need to go into the market place with those companies and service providers that we know are export-ready, and to do so in a manner that will build strong linkages and relations with our partners in the other islands.???
Mr. Inniss further explained that St. Lucia, Grenada and Guyana were chosen based on the volume of exports to those countries, as well as the already established relations. He pointed out that up until September 2015, Barbados had exported approximately $27 million in goods to St. Lucia; $14.6 million in goods to Grenada; and $49.9 million worth to Guyana, and Barbados needed to improve upon these figures.
???This mission was mounted with the intention of taking into those three territories companies that we know have the synergies there; some of them are already exporting or they are certainly in a position to satisfy any demands of those markets.
???[The mission] was also designed to expose our manufacturers and service providers as to what is happening in the market place. It is one thing to sit here and read reports and to talk to people on the phone but when you get up and actually go there you actually get to feel and experience what is happening,??? he contended.
The ministerial party also took the opportunity to explore opportunities for further expanding exports to Guyana, as well as inward investment in areas where Barbadian companies could compete. The prospects for exploring increased trade with Brazil via Guyana???s partial scope agreement with that country were also investigated.