Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean??

There are several opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships for companies setting up operations in China to also derive benefits from Barbados.

This is the view of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, which she expressed yesterday, during the feature address at a Barbados Networking reception at the Westin Hotel in Shanghai, China.

Senator McClean noted that Barbados and China had different comparative advantages and were not competing for the same kinds of investment. She pointed out, however, that they could work together to offer their international investors "a desirable package that combines our respective resource and market efficiencies with effective and prudent tax planning vehicles".

The Foreign Trade Minister pointed out that like China, Barbados was keen to adopt strategies that enhanced and sustained national development. She added that there was, therefore, a desire to jointly discuss and explore ways in which the economic, cultural and tourism ties that exist between China and Barbados could be strengthened.

Ms. McClean told the audience of mainly Chinese business persons that Barbados was actively seeking to export its products and services worldwide. "In pursuit of this goal, Invest Barbados and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation are exploring new and emerging markets in Latin America, the Asian economies and China in particular, while redoubling our efforts in the traditional ones," she stated.??????????????

The Minister further noted that trade with China was not a new area to Barbados, having imported approximately US$54.2 million in products from China in 2009, while exporting approximately US$1.7 million to that market. The main exports were nonferrous metals, metal scraps and more recently, high quality intra-ocular lenses.

"We hope to add new products to this mix in the near future including rum and other beverages, as well as other products from the cultural industries sector, to name a few. Our objective is to achieve significant growth rates in the medium term, particularly in terms of export from Barbados," Senator McClean revealed.

A further aim, she added, was to strengthen the capacity of firms already located in Barbados, through partnerships, transfer of technology and other licensing agreements, as well as by attracting other producers.

"Identified high potential investment prospects in our manufacturing sector include export-oriented niche manufacturing, including the production of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, high end garments, leather goods, electronic assemblies, and specialised optical devices," the Foreign Minister observed.

Senator McClean acknowledged that tourism had been fuelling Barbados’ economic growth over the past three decades, but said that government was firmly committed to the further diversification of the economy through the development of a competitive, dynamic, business location. "In particular, our efforts are focused on building a distinctive brand and a domicile renowned for excellence, in facilitating international business and financial services," she revealed.

The Foreign Trade Minister expressed confidence that Barbados had competitive and relevant legislative vehicles, including provisions for international trade and commerce, banking, insurance, shipping, global asset management, headquarters and holding companies and information communication technologies.

Senator McClean made it clear to the potential Chinese investors that there was much scope for collaboration and opportunity for investment. "Particularly now that Chinese investors are rapidly expanding internationally, Barbados’ double taxation

treaty and investment protection treaty network can provide enhanced returns and security for those investments. "We are, therefore, keen to build on previous performance and remain convinced that our tailored solutions will allow investors to maximise and sustain competitive advantage," she maintained.

The Foreign Trade Minister also outlined several reasons why Barbados should be chosen for investment above other Caribbean locations. These included the lack of restriction on foreign investment; and the country’s pro-business approach, having given special responsibility to Invest Barbados to facilitate the attraction, landing and expansion of foreign direct investment in Barbados.??????????????????

A stable political and economic environment, a world-class infrastructure, low taxes, a cadre of professionals offering business development services and an expanding treaty network were also touted as advantages to investing in Barbados.

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