Various aspects of trade facilitation, such as transparency and the use of technology, including the Electronic Single Window (ESW), will facilitate trade flows on this island.
This was emphasized by Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, as he engaged media representatives at a press briefing, following the start of a National Consultation on Trade Facilitation on Wednesday, at the Warrens Office Complex, Warrens, St. Michael.
“These facets are required in order to ensure that the procedures of trade are made more efficient, simple and harmonized,” Mr. Sutherland said, while adding that Barbados also hoped to benefit in terms of the harmonization of its procedures as it traded across borders.
Noting that there were a number of collaborations across ministries that needed to be achieved in order to ensure things were done legitimately in relation to trade, the minister said, with the introduction of an ESW – a computer based system aimed at boosting competitiveness and driving efficiency – more progress would be made by Barbados come year-end.
“We will indeed have one window where all the various ministries can go into the application through our digital system and approve and regulate trade by one single ESW,” he stressed, outlining that this was one facility likely to enhance Barbados’ trade since it would allow local and regional trading partners the option to view our regulation and approval process.
While pointing out that the ESW would reduce the cost of doing business by eliminating any travelling time from ministry to ministry, he acknowledged that as part of the process of digitization by government, it would make business easier, attract investment and ensure Barbados was “utilizing cutting edge technology to enhance competitiveness”.
“With the ESW in place, an importer can sit at his desk and see when his goods have arrived in the country… and whereas before it took as much as one month to get documents cleared by Customs, Customs Brokers, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, think of the time we have wasted over the years without the ESW,” Mr. Sutherland added.
The national consultation, which was organized by the Ministry’s National Consultation Committee on Trade Facilitation, was attended by participants from key agencies across the public and private sector, and facilitated by Senior Customs Adviser on Trade Facilitation with the World Bank Group, Jim Williams.