Story: The Caribbean prepares for exporting to UK and European markets

3 June 2020
ITC News

Plans for boosting exports from the Caribbean Forum reviewed with a focus on the current health and economic crisis.

Representatives from the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries met virtually together with development agencies, public and private trade support institutions and exporters to make plans to boost the exports of Caribbean speciality foods and creative services.

Through the United Kingdom Trade Partnership project, these efforts will increase exports , promote a transparent trading environment by helping businesses conform with trade regulations and support businesses associated with these industries in the current health and economic crisis.

The project will be implemented in partnership with regional and national stakeholders who will also look at differing regional priorities and work to drive forward local growth using the principles of local ownership and resilience-building through a market-based approach. The group will look at ways that increased diversification of market channels and new products can be the springboard for new market opportunities and sector development. Trade intelligence engagements will address existing data gaps and build the capacity of institutions to update information through customized tools and trainings.

UK Minister for International Development, Baroness Sugg said,“We are delighted to work with the International Trade Centre to launch the UK Trade Partnerships Programme in the Caribbean, supporting the region’s Caribbean Forum States to increase exports, create jobs and make the most of their economic ties. Keeping trade and supply chains open is vital as we work together to tackle the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.”

This approach is designed to build resilience in the short term and generate growth in the long term – especially in the current climate of COVID-19 restrictions in the Caribbean economy.

Acting Executive Director of the International Trade Centre Dorothy Tembo in her address said, “Through the UK Trade Partnerships Programme we will support CARIFORUM to explore new markets, prioritise value added products, digitalise, and strengthen the creative industries’ value chain. Concrete COVID-responses are being rolled out to support COVID-19 affected businesses in Caribbean Forum States.”

Existing mechanisms to monitor the business environment, including regulatory and procedural obstacles to intra and extra-regional trade in the CARIFORUM were also reviewed at the meeting.

The Caribbean offers a range of specialty foods to tap into the UK and EU markets. It is also well poised to take advantage of trade in cultural goods and services as it offers opportunities to link with identity, culture, media and communication within a framework of sustainable economic growth.

With the support of UK aid and the International Trade Centre, this project will empower local trade and investment institutions to better assist economic operators in the CARIFORUM countries and will be instrumental in building capacity in Carabbean supply chains and adding value to all the economies in the region.

By supporting trade and related activities, this project will contribute the Caribbean Forum’s efforts to achieve the targets under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).