The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) recently held a roundtable discussion with Ms. Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC) and Mr. Matthew Wilson, Chief of Staff, (ITC) at the BCCI’s conference room, on 27 July 2018.

The BCCI was represented by its President, Mr. Edward Clarke and the roundtable discussion included participation from other Members of the BCCI and wider private sector bodies.

In her presentation, Ms. Gonzalez indicated that in the discussions with the Government of Barbados they had identified three thematic areas of support based on ITC capabilities and the Country’s needs. These are:

  1. Improving the ease of doing business;
  2. Facilitating greater diversification and value addition; and
  3. Fostering youth entrepreneurship

Ms. Gonzalez also highlighted the ITC’s role in the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and capacity building for firms as well as business support organisations. Mention was also made of the ITC’s role in providing support to key products such as condiments and coconuts.

Mr. Edward Clarke on his part welcomed the attention being paid to youth entrepreneurship and highlighted the social and economic value from investing in educational services. He also stressed the importance of the restructuring state-owned enterprises as a means to stimulating private sector growth.

The roundtable discussion also touched on the commercial banking sector and its role in strengthening competitiveness of micro, small and medium sized economies (MSMEs). In this regard, Ms. Gonzalez stressed the need to work with the commercial banks to develop more appropriate risk assessment tools for the MSMEs sector.

Ms. Gonzalez also advised that Barbados should seek to strengthen the linkages between tourism and other sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture. Additionally, the linking of institutions within the business eco-system and building capacity of business supporting organisations were raised as key elements to the country’s competitiveness.