Minister of International Business, Donville Inniss, will lead a trade delegation to Cuba on Monday, with the aim of exploring investment opportunities in that country.
Ten local manufacturing and services companies will participate in the five-day mission, which also seeks to enhance policy dialogue and exchange business information, while strengthening the network of business support organisations, a statement from the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) said.
The BIDC is spearheading the event, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. The team will include Permanent Secretary Philmore Best and from the BIDC, Deputy Chairman, Mr. Junior Allsopp, Chief Executive Officer Sonja Trotman, Business Development Officer Coral Taylor and Manager Export and Business Development Paula Bourne.
One of the highlights of the visit will be the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the BIDC and the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, following a Cuba/Barbados official conference scheduled for the Hotel Melia Cohiba.
During the visit, the Barbadian delegates, representing firms from the food and beverage, printing, chemicals, engineering, logistics and consulting services sectors, will engage in business to business meetings, consult with business support organisations and agencies and explore opportunities for the development of trade relations, joint ventures and other investments. There are also scheduled tours to business and industrial facilities and one Barbadian company, WIBISCO, will officially launch its products registered for sale in the market.
Barbados already enjoys a longstanding relationship with Cuba having established diplomatic relations in December 1972. The relationship is manifested in the areas of trade, investment, health, sports and tourism.
BIDC CEO, Sonja Trotman however noted that, “With respect to trade, there are still many untapped opportunities to explore and significant scope to grow. This visit follows a research mission which we would have undertaken during the first week of November last year, where we participated in Cuba’s biggest trade fair, FIHAV and sought to explore the potential that the Cuban market has to offer for local manufacturers.
“The mission is the second of several other outbound activities scheduled for this year under the Going Global Programme, to expand both Barbados’ export market space and the number of companies exporting.”
Barbados’ exports to the Cuban market have averaged approximately just US$6,150 in 2015, comprising mainly of brandy, paper and mechanical parts. Barbados’ imports from Cuba meanwhile, were valued at just under US$200,000. The main items imported were cigars, capsules, office supplies and paintings.