Bahamians make the most of international trade partnerships

Bahamians make the most of international trade partnerships
Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation Executive Chairman, Michael Foulkes.

Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) Executive Chairman Michael Foulkes said, Bahamian companies are taking advantage of opportunities provided by international trade partnerships.

While addressing delegates attending the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) at the SuperClubs Breezes Thursday, Foulkes said, The Bahamas is ‘privileged’ to be a part of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA and through BAIC, supports the work of Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) in building awareness and heralding opportunities that exist for the private sector.

“We wish to state that The Bahamas continues its firm relationship with CARIFORUM as we together discuss innovative ways of developing trade opportunities and the opportunities which exist for the private sector and Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” Foulkes said.

Foulkes said BAIC’s mandate is to ‘stimulate’ and ‘encourage’ the creation, expansion and promotion of Bahamian SMEs and ‘assist’ those businesses in developing and enhancing profitable opportunities for domestic and international trade.

He said this is done by providing research and feasibility studies, industrial land for lease at concessionary rate, access to development funding, access to buyer markets, handicraft development training, and business monitoring and evaluation.

“I, therefore, wish to report that in 2015 BAIC through its Handicraft Development Department exported Bahamian-made product inclusive of straw, shell and coconut product to a free trade enterprise, El Puente in Germany with an export value in excess of $70,000,” he said.

“While the sum is not large, by any measure, it is a beginning.”

Foulkes boasted that BAIC’s Property Management Department has been able to assist many small and medium enterprises such as Switcha Bahamas and Bahamas Striping Limited.

“Today, we have SMEs ready to export or who are currently exporting and who are participating in this workshop. It is hoped that they, together with their counterparts from Jamaica and Belize, will – at the completion of the workshop – be more aware of the opportunities offered by the CARIFORUM-EU European Partnership Agreement.”