It makes little sense to sign regional and international trade agreements if the manufacturing sector, for whose main benefit these agreements are intended, does not exploit the opportunities for new and expanded market access.

In this regard, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, has voiced his frustration over the manufacturing community not utilising the various trade agreements that Government and the private sector have signed on to, and urged them to utilise both the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and the European Union-African, Caribbean and Pacific Economic Partnership Agreements in order to ???exploit fully potential market access opportunities???.

Speaking this morning at the Barbados Manufacturers Association???s (BMA) symposium on the topic: The Reality of Conducting Business Within the Manufacturing Community, at Almond Bay, Hastings, Christ Church, Minister Inniss said: ???If these Agreements are effectively utilised, they can be a critical element in our economic development by facilitating the expansion of the domestic manufacturing sector.

???As we all know, when the entire recession abates, new opportunities will be presented but only the innovative and the forward-thinking entrepreneurs will be positioned to seize these opportunities. It simply cannot be business as usual. Manufacturers must utilise trade intelligence to build effective and profitable international trading relations??? Trade intelligence plays a major role in increasing your companies??? knowledge base, improving your products and services, and assists in keeping you informed of changes in your competitors products, specifications and trading strategies,??? he surmised.

Mr. Inniss also announced that his Ministry was in the process of establishing a Trade Advisory Council, which would pull together all of the relevant stakeholders involved in trade of goods and services in and outside of Barbados. The Council would also ensure that there was closer collaboration on the issues that confronted the sector.

He said it was his hope that the establishment of the Council would aid in removing bottlenecks, and really position Barbados once again to be a major player on the regional frontier in terms of trade of goods and services.

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