The Bahamas must not be left “flat-footed” in its approach to international trade, the Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive warned yesterday, arguing that more local companies should seek to enter export markets and trade across borders.
Edison Sumner warned: “The Bahamas should not be left flat-footed on this, and must aggressively pursue trade in exports and services.” Cross-border trading, he added, was one way to grow this nation’s economy.
“We need to tap into new markets, we need to be able to bring in more foreign currency into the Bahamas, and that way we can grow the economy and see the creation of more jobs,” he argued.
Mr Sumner’s comments came on the sidelines of a trade mission by the Jamaican Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), which brought 13 Jamaican firms to the Bahamas as part of the agency’s export promotion agenda. The Caribbean Market Mission, a part of JAMPRO’s export development programme, Export Max, began on June 18 in Barbados, with its final stop in the Bahamas wrapping up on Friday.
“The whole idea is that while we are looking to support companies coming in to establish partnerships, we are also looking at reciprocity; we are looking to find ways for Bahamian firms to establish similar partnerships,” said Mr Sumner. “We are keenly interested in pursuing these arrangements with JAMPRO, and we expect to do a similar mission in Jamaica in the future.”
Mr Sumner said the Chamber has led numerous trade missions to promote Bahamian firms to international markets. “The issue has been that when we have our missions, it is not often taken on as well as we would like. Many companies do not get involved for a number of reasons,” he added.
“Local firms have to think about expanding their business outside of the Bahamas, cross-border trading and connections to expand their footprint. It requires some sacrifice, a lot of dedication and focus on how to access the markets. When we did trade missions right to the Florida area, we literally only had about two our three companies from the entire country. There is always an expression of interest, but the follow through is where things fall down.”
McKenzie, N. (2017, June 29). Retrieved from http://www.tribune242.com/news/2017/jun/28/bahamas-cant-be-left-flat-footed-over-trade/