Barbados Private Sector Trade Team Moves to Secure Trade Ties with Cuba

The Barbados Private Sector Trade Team (BPSTT) is strengthening its efforts to monitor and boost the performance of Barbados’ businesses under various Trade Agreements. As part of this strategy the BPSTT will zero in on the CARICOM-Cuba Partial Scope Agreement.

The agency will be hosting a business forum, Wednesday March 04th 2015, at the Bagnall’s Point Gallery, aimed at building awareness of the Cuban market. More specifically, the forum will focus on exploring opportunities and developing an export strategy to address any existing challenges.

While it is essential for Barbados to enhance trade ties with traditional trading partners, in CARICOM, the European Union, the United States and Canada, it is tantamount to cement ties with non-traditional partners, especially those in emerging markets.

Trade Consultant of the BPSTT, Shardae Boyce, stated: "The structure of the global political economy has shifted. This shift has resulted in the integration of non-traditional trading partners, such as Cuba, into the world economy, which by extension creates new trading partners for Barbados to do business with ease and on a wider scale".

Trade Consultant of the BPSTT, Shardae Boyce, stated: “The structure of the global political economy has shifted. This shift has resulted in the integration of non-traditional trading partners, such as Cuba, into the world economy, which by extension creates new trading partners for Barbados to do business with ease and on a wider scale“.

Ms. Boyce noted that, although the CARICOM-Cuba Partial Scope Agreement only covers trade in goods, directly benefiting distribution and manufacturing, there have been a number of spill-over opportunities for a wider cross section of sectors.

According to Ms. Boyce, the Agreement is one that promotes the development of synergies and cross-fertilisation between industries within the private sector. Such Trade Agreements present opportunities for our members to pursue private sector led growth in a strategic and unified manner.

The banking sector is one example of an industry that has indirectly benefited from opportunities which were generated as a result of trade in goods under the CARICOM-Cuba Partial Scope Agreement. Following the conclusion of the Agreement, Republic Bank established a representative office in Havana to harness the trade financing opportunities available. The BPSTT has therefore partnered with Republic Bank to build awareness within the exporting sectors of how the facility could be accessed. The potential increase in exports to Cuba, as a consequence of this initiative, is likely to redound in benefits for both the banking and export sectors, by extension leading to economic growth in foreign reserves.

Ms. Boyce also noted that as the relationship between Cuba and the United States continues to normalize this will have a positive effect on the international business sector. “We have international businesses of U.S origin, incorporated in Barbados. When the trade embargo between the United States and Cuba is lifted these companies should be able to export to Cuba without barriers.

Meanwhile, the private sector must move quickly to position itself to take advantage of future opportunities in Cuba”.

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