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

Despite the setbacks which the international business sector has encountered, Barbados remains a popular choice for those investors who are desirous of setting up operations here.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick, identified Barbados’ good infrastructure; stable political environment; sound regulatory systems and a reasonable tax regime; as the "pull factors" to attracting this kind of business.

He made these observations while addressing the Barbados Business International Association’s International Business Week Conference, yesterday, at Hilton Barbados.

Noting that the current global economic crisis continued to pose challenges for Barbados and the Caribbean in key sectors such as international trade, international business and tourism, the Minister said economic growth in the Caribbean was still cause for worry.

He opined: "The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean estimates that within the Caribbean, the entire GDP growth rate for 2009 will be in the region of 0.1 per cent; while the estimate of growth in Cuba and the Dominican Republic for the same period will be in the region of 3 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively.

Dr. Estwick further stated: "In its latest report on the global economic and financial troubles, the International Monetary Fund forecasts the world’s growth rate to fall to a ?? per cent in 2009 – its lowest rate since World War II.?? This represents a downward revision of about 1?? percentage points, from the November 2008 World Economic Outlook update.

The Economic Affairs Minister also pointed out that despite wide-ranging policy actions which had been implemented by governments, the IMF had also predicted that sustained economic recovery would not be possible until the financial sector’s functionality was restored and credit markets were unclogged.

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