Barbados still lagging in exports


Executive Director of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Lisa Gale believes that Barbados needs to be more export driven. 
Gale, who will demit office shortly, maintained that more work needs to be done to advance that export growth. “Throughout the years, I thought we could have done a lot more in terms of shaping the discussion towards becoming more diversified as a country,” she told The Barbados Advocate.
Gale maintained that focus should be given to moving forward at pace to address this glaring shortfall. According to her, “We are primarily a services economy and because of that there is not that great focus on exports. When you look at our figures as a net food import country like Barbados there is much more we can do even if we package our service exports and tell that story in a better way, we are dependent on services but I think as we depend on services we can also move toward more diversification.” 
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has started by putting in place the Green Committee and the drive towards Barbados becoming a Green Economy. “However, in Barbados we have not moved at a fast pace towards diversifying the economy, the challenges in the economy have impacted the diversification issues, thus they have not taken root in a more serious and productive way,” she added.
In terms of businesses grasping opportunities, the BCCI official indicated that businesses need to take advantage of opportunities presented through agreements such as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
 “A lot of people still don’t understand the EPA…I would say over the years we attempted to do EPA training, [but] the business community was not as eager because it was not a very “sexy” topic, and having an understanding of the agreement was not easy for them and was a serious challenge. 
“Persons say CSME needs to be revived but this is not the right word because it is not dead – a lot of countries are spending time focusing on debt issues etc. and they don’t necessarily have the time for the integration movement; when things were better they had more time.
“Countries are more concerned with their economic challenges and don’t have the space to really focus on issues that fall within CARICOM. One of the challenges of CARICOM is that people always look at the free movement, but there are far more benefits to CARICOM.
However, CARICOM is a very convoluted institution, organisation and system and for that reason a lot of our nationals are not aware of what has been signed on to, a lot of people have not read the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas,” she lamented.
Gale believes that to be able to grasp the opportunities it will take education. (NB)

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