Within the next six months the Barbados Electronic Single Window (BESW) should be up and running.
That is according to Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland, who has said the initiative will reduce the cost of doing business on the island.
Speaking to the media during a press conference at the Warrens Office Complex, Sutherland said its implementation would also lead to an ease of doing business in Barbados.
The single window system is a trade facilitation idea that enables international traders to submit regulatory documents at a single location or single entity.
It is used to increase efficiency through time and cost savings, especially for traders engaging in business with Government authorities.
“Cognizant of these dynamics and in recognition that the implementation of the BESW is a critical building block in Barbados’ trade facilitation efforts, as it has implications for Barbados’ trade performance, measures are being taken by my Ministry to accelerate the implementation of the BESW by year end.
Sutherland made the comments moments after addressing a public stakeholder workshop on trade facilitation.
The workshop is being held over two days and includes representatives from the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA); Ministry of Health; Ministry of Agriculture; Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI); Barbados Manufacturing Association (BMA) and the Central Bank of Barbados.
“This session is indeed critical to this country and coming out of this workshop we intend to formalize a national trade facilitation implementation roadmap for the country and we also intend to develop a technical assistance matrix for trade facilitation,” the Minister pointed out.
“The final aspect of this workshop is to reconstitute the national task force on trade facilitation. Indeed we would have had working groups before looking at trade and business facilitation, but while there were efforts by Government and the private sector, we did not achieve enough to push Barbados’ level of competitiveness and indeed to reduce the cost of trade between borders.”
Sutherland said there were statistics from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which estimate that the full implementation of a trade facilitation agreement could boost growth in developing countries annually by 3.5 per cent for exports.
“Indeed this workshop is to ensure that the trade facilitation agreement under the WTO indeed will allow Barbados to achieve a level of competitiveness we have not seen in years and indeed to boost growth,” the Minister added.