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French connection


Future in investment, trade between Barbados and Martinique

By Nadia Brancker

Prospects are looking good for more trade and investment between Barbados and Martinique.

That’s according to Stephany Croizet, Martinique Promotions Officer with the Martinique Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Council of Martinique.

She explained to the Barbados Advocate that the Economic partnership Agreement (EPA) between Europe and the CARIFORUM region allows additional access into Martinique.

“It is relatively easy to get to each country with the direct flight compared to other member states. The EPA agreements has helped because this is one of the main reasons the Barbadians are looking to do business with the French market,” Croizet pointed out.

“I think the EPA will probably help us to further promote business ties,” she emphasised.

Croizet recalled that previously Barbadians didn’t think about Martinique, “not because they don’t want to conduct business with us but more because they don’t necessarily know us”.

“It is not the usual therefore we are building the relationship. It will take some time but I can see business links being made,” she remarked.

Some months ago a delegation from Martinique mounted a trade mission in Barbados in an attempt to whip up greater commercial interests between the two countries.

The trade mission held in Barbados from June 22 – 24 was deemed as the beginning of building relationships between the cultural sectors of the two islands. The 13-member delegation from the French Overseas Department included representatives from music, film, television and radio as well as managers, bookers, festival organisers and artists.

She stated, “The Martinique delegation was only here for two days and all of the companies had great feedback in terms of business opportunities.”

According to her, “Outside of the cultural sector we are presently conducting research to see what Barbadian businesses are interested in partnership and joint ventures in different sectors.”

When asked about the possibility of there being another mission in Barbados this year, Croizet said that they are hoping to do a follow up.

A trade team comprising representatives from the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI) and three local companies will be setting off on a trade mission to Martinique and Guadeloupe this month.

According to Michelle Hustler, Project Manager – Trade in Services at the BCSI, the reason why Martinique was initially chosen was because of the recently finalised EPA agreement.

Hustler revealed that the first mission in 2007 was not as successful as hoped. “It was a hard market for us. Some of the reasons the mission wasn’t as successful was due to language and cultural barriers to trade. I am hoping to use it as a stepping stone to the EU mainland.”

Caribbean Export has a cooperation agreement with Martinique and the Martinique Chamber of Commerce is making strong efforts to move both ways. As a result, the BCSI are undertaking this mission for the second time, with the expectation that another mission would be valuable and almost guarantee a success.

The upcoming event scheduled for September 26 to October 2 will be a joint effort to Martinique and Guadeloupe. This will be the BCSI’s first mission to Guadeloupe.
Hustler indicated, “We are calling it a success guaranteed programme.”

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