American business figures are seeking to re-establish a link with firms here and throughout the Eastern Caribbean in a bid to leverage new exports to the region.
US Ambassador to Barbados Linda Taglialatela said the American Chamber of Commerce for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean (AmCham BEC) is keen on increasing trade and business links between the US and the region.
Addressing a modest gathering at a reception for the relaunch of the AmCham BEC at her St James residence on Thursday evening, the US Ambassador repeated her government’s policy stance that private sector-led development is critical to a country’s economy, adding that it was important that the business community “work together”.
She announced that AmCham BEC would be hosting a US/Caribbean business conference and trade mission with the US Department of Commerce in early June.
Taglialatela said that over 100 American companies from “multiple sectors and industries” are expected to attend the conference and related networking events.
“There are a number of people who are interested in investing in the Caribbean and in some cases, they want to partner and set up distribution centres. So there will be obviously opportunities for partnering and working out agreements and arrangements with American companies,” she said.
The AmCham BEC started in 2013 to help promote trade and investment between the US and seven Eastern Caribbean states.
President of the AmCham BEC Dustin Delany described the organization as a facilitator of business within the region and between the region and the US.
Describing the AmCham as one of the most influential voices of American businesses across the world in partnership with the US Department of Commerce, he said there were currently over 115 AmChams in 102 countries.
There are over 23 chambers in Latin America and Caribbean, representing “more than 20,000 companies and over 80 per cent of the US investment in Latin America and the Caribbean”, he said.
But declaring the CARICOM Single Market (CSME) as being in an “unfortunate stagnant status”, Delany said the AmChams in the Caribbean can “continue to be one of the most productive facilitators of business both in the region and with the rest of the world”.
He added: “The resources afforded AmCham BEC are unparalleled through its membership in Latin America and the Caribbean chambers.
“Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean countries are vital components to economic growth across the Caribbean and around the globe.”
Taglialatela praised the contribution of the late broadcaster and communications consultant Veoma Ali to the AmCham BEC during her time as its executive director, saying she was greatly missed and the association would continue to be inspired by her work.
Delany attributed the organization’s growth over the years to “the strength of its talented executive directors”, while also paying tribute to Ali, saying she made a significant mark, and her passing had an impact on the organization.
Delany welcomed the new Executive Director of AmCham BEC, Renatta Mohammed, saying he had all confidence she would continue to do a terrific job.
Mohammed expressed gratitude for being appointed the new role, pledging to do all she could to continue the hard work of the organization.
She also called on the local and regional business community to get more involved in the organization.
“We look forward to working in synchronicity with the local chambers and our embassy to provide you with the best possible support,” said the regional business development consultant.