Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology, Davidson Ishmael, addressing the launch of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association’s (BMA) Trade and Innovation Summit 2022, at the Hilton Barbados Resort, today. (GP)

Government has embarked on a number of policy initiatives to breathe new life into the local manufacturing sector.

Speaking at the launch of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association’s Trade and Innovation Summit 2022 at the Hilton Barbados Resort this morning, Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology, Davidson Ishmael, said these initiatives were aimed at improving the competitiveness and export readiness of Barbadian enterprises, with the goal of achieving an export target of US$1 billion by 2030.  The Summit is being held under the theme “Our Global Village”.

“One of these initiatives is the corporate reform and rebranding of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation with a strategic focus on exports. Government is seeking to establish a strong export brand by building a national export culture.  We will globally position Barbados’ industrial brands in the international market to appeal not only to the diaspora, but to consumers across various cultures and borders,” the Industry Minister stated.

He added: “We must build global, Barbadian household brands.  We are also seeking to establish a subsidiary entity, an Export Bank, through a public-private partnership model. It is intended for this facility to provide a suite of export finance and insurance offerings, such as buyer finance, purchase order financing, project financing, an export guarantee programme, and credit insurance. The overarching goal of this agency is to enable the growth of the export sector through creative export financing solutions utilising a model which is profitable and sustainable.”

Mr. Ishmael explained that other initiatives included the enhancement of Barbados’ bioeconomy, which involves the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into value added products, such as food, feed, and other bio-based products.

He pointed out that it is expected that “life sciences” would add an additional $250 million in exports and create some 3,000 new, high-quality jobs.

He also disclosed that there were plans to develop an International Food Science Centre, which would be designed with five high-quality food science labs, all meeting the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) certified production standards.

“Furthermore, government will seek to establish a new geographic indicator framework, which protects Barbados’ intellectual property so that companies coming to Barbados for life sciences have a robust system that protects and enforces the intellectual property rights of Barbados-based companies,” he shared.

Additionally, Mr. Ishmael said other plans to transform the sector included the creation of an International Robotics Centre aimed at attracting investment from international robotics companies focused on exports; the establishment of EcoIndustrial Parks – upgrading and greening of all industrial estates to world class standards and the installation of a green energy park geared towards the production of green energy for export.

“It is anticipated that if the above-mentioned interventions are implemented in the medium to long-term, they will invariably bolster the capacity and increase the output of the manufacturing sector.  In addition, Barbados is sure to strengthen its overall trade performance, increasing its foreign exchange earning capacity and enhancing its brand image,” Mr. Ishmael underscored.

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