Export Boost Eyed From Trade Initiative

30 Mar 2017


Bahamian entrepreneurs seeking to target foreign markets were yesterday urged to register with the Bahamas Trade Portal, which was hailed as a “groundbreaking resource” to increase exports and trade.

The Bahamas Chamber of Comemrce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) and the Ministry of Financial Services yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Trade Information Servcies and Electronic Portal.

The Trade Information Service Desk and Electronic Portal aims to consolidate information into a central location, and increase and improve trade by effectively creating a “one-stop shop”.

The portal is being developed by The International Trade Centre (ITC), a subsidiary organisation of the  United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Hope Strachan, minister of financial servcies, said yesterday: “We’re looking to launch by late March, early April. We’re well on our way and we anticipate that we would meet our expected timeline.”

The development of the portal is being funded by the European Union (EU) at a cost of just under $200,000. Mrs Strachan said a key feature of the portal will be an exporter directory for businesses seeking to attract potential international buyers.

Martin Lopez, project manager of the Bahamas Trade Portal with the ITC, said: “This will be a groundbreaking resource for the Bahamas, something that will make the Bahamas one of the forerunners in terms of business development and business support to companies interested in export.”

He added that the portal would benefit

Bahamian entrepreneurs interested in foreign markets and becoming exporters, as well as foreign entrepreneurs and members of the international business community eying this nation as a potential trade partner and supplier of quality goods and services.

Edison Sumner, the Chamber’s chief executive, said the portal will consolidate information into a central location to increase and improve trade facilitation.

“Companies will have the ability to receive significant profile so that they can be easily found by international companies seeking to create and develop local partnerships and linkages in trade and commerce,” said Mr Sumner.

“The trade information services desk and electronic portal are a significant achievement towards providing access to trade information  such as import and export stats, trade regulations, certification requirements, rules and certificates of origin.”

Mike Maura, Arawak Port Development’s (APD) chief executive, and a BCCEC director, said: “I think that the portal will serve as an educational tool for both young and old by sharing current trade-related statistics.

“As an example, the Nassau Container Port intends to be able to provide its trade information in terms of its container volumes coming in as well as leaving New Providence, which I think will serve the business community from the standpoint of being able to see on a real time basis whether our markets are expanding or contracting.”

Mr Maura added: “It will also speak to the wide separation between import and export volumes, and we have such a wonderful opportunity to develop our export market and reverse that trade imbalance, which will positively impact cargo rates.

“Right now, the cargo imports are actually having to pay for all the exports, and if we develop an export market it would bring our import costs down.”

This article appeared in The Tribune on February 21st, 2017.