Saint Lucia Moves Ahead with Boosting its Export Capacity

Saint Lucia is positioning itself to boost the export capacity of its local enterprises.

The International Trade Centre has engaged Saint Lucia’s agency tasked with developing the export sector, TEPA, to implement a project that seeks to strengthen the institutional infrastructure for export promotion in Saint Lucia.

On Wednesday February 10th, 2016, the two signed the project agreement that would assist Saint Lucia with, among other things, the development of the brand “Taste of Saint Lucia,” capacity building for trade promotion staff and a review of the National Export Strategy.

Signing the project agreement for the International Trade Centre was Executive Director, Arancha Gonzalez, who made her first official visit to Saint Lucia as part of the organisation’s initial mission to the Caribbean.

“Investing in trade promotion pays and pays well. In a report launched last week in Geneva, we [International Trade Centre] know that for every $1 we invest in trade promotion you could generate $87 in exports and $384 in GDP growth. This is what our figures tell us.

“I feel very strongly about the part of the project that has to do with ‘Taste of Saint Lucia,’ with branding. This island has something unique that consumers want to taste. I’ve had an opportunity to see what this means for rum, with pepper sauce; why not design services. Consumers want to taste the uniqueness that this island has to offer.”

The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations that assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the UN Global Goals.

The ITC has assisted Saint Lucia with the development of a national quality infrastructure as well as the development of a National Export Strategy. Following those engagements came the establishment of TEPA in November 2013.

As part of the agreement, the ITC will provide technical support and advisory services to strengthen the institutional capacities of TEPA and to provide better services to its enterprise clients.

TEPA is the national agency spearheading Saint Lucia’s export development efforts, with the overall objective of increasing the aggregate volume and value of exports from Saint Lucia.

The project agreement will involve an integrated approach requiring involvement of the private sector and mobilising the productive sector towards producing for a market beyond the confines of the domestic economic space.

At the ceremony the ITC also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Saint Lucia to formalise the relationship between the two.

Signing on behalf of government was the Hon. Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs, Emma Hippolyte.

“Increased exports is an essential part of crafting an appropriate economic response to the current realities we face if we are to achieve the socio economic goals and objectives that we have set for ourselves as a country. The wide ranging global experiences of the ITC, including the previous engagements in Saint Lucia in 2004 and 2013 in guiding our earlier efforts to develop a National Export Strategy and upgrading the trade information services for exporters in Saint Lucia gives us adequate reason to be confident about the undertaking we are about to embark on.”

Gonzalez held discussions with the Hon. Prime Minister Kenny Anthony on areas of further cooperation including e-commerce, trade facilitation, improving the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises and supporting women in enterprise.

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