Barbados is seeking to strengthen commercial linkages with St. Lucia

Barbados is seeking to strengthen commercial linkages with St. Lucia

A 24-member contingent of Barbadian manufacturing and services companies will be arriving in St. Lucia on Sunday, January 24, 2016 to participate in a series of pre-arranged business to business meetings- the first leg of a multi-country CARICOM trade mission.

Led by Barbados’ Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business, the Honourable Donville Inniss, the visit is intended to enhance policy dialogue and the exchange of business information, while strengthening the network of business support organisations, promoting trade, and exploring investment opportunities which could yield economic gains for both territories.

The mission is being spearheaded by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), with support from the Barbados Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and the Barbados Manufacturers Association.

One of the highlights of the visit will be the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the BIDC and the St Lucia Trade and Export Agency (TEPA).

During the visit, the Barbadian delegates, representing firms from the food and beverage, construction, printing, health and wellness and consulting services sectors, will engage in business to business meetings, consult with business support organisations and agencies and explore opportunities for the development of trade relations, joint ventures and other investments. The Barbados-based Queen Elizabeth Hospital will be among the delegates, showcasing the eye care, neurosurgical and cardiac services offered at its facility.

Open House sessions are scheduled for January 25, 2016 at the Bay Gardens Hotel, where persons interested in doing business with Barbados are invited to attend.

Barbados already enjoys a longstanding relationship with St. Lucia manifested in the areas of trade, tourism, and culture. With respect to trade, Barbados’ exports to this market have averaged approximately US$16 million each year for the last ten years, comprising mainly of wheat flour, margarine and soya bean oil. Items such as prefabricated buildings, building cement, juice mixtures, household aerosol insecticides and medicaments for therapeutic use have also featured prominently in recent years.

Barbados’ imports from Saint Lucia, while averaging US$6.3 million annually over the period 2005 to 2013, grew significantly in 2014 when Barbados began to source diesel oil from this market. Imports reached US$43.1 million in 2014 and preliminary estimates indicate 2015 imports to be in the same range. The main items imported were beer, corrugated paper containers and fresh bananas.

Barbados established diplomatic relations with St. Lucia in February 1979. H.E. the Hon. Robert Morris, CHB, was appointed as the Barbados High Commissioner to St. Lucia in September 2015. The accreditation of the non-resident high Commissioner signals the aim to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

It is hoped that this upcoming trade mission will succeed in contributing to the creation of a bridge to sustaining existing relations and creating new ones between Barbados and its CARICOM counterparts. The group departs St. Lucia on Tuesday, January 26, headed for Grenada.

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