CASTRIES, Saint Lucia, June 09, 2017; A three-person contingent representing the Saint Lucia Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA), Saint Lucia Coalition of Services Industries (SLCSI) and the Saint Lucia Manufacturing Association (SMA) are currently participating in a Market Study Tour to Germany, France and Spain. During the tour, which runs from June 10 -15 the mission will undertake fact finding activities and meet with potential buyers, key Private sector organisations and institutions, lead firms and importers and relevant government agencies.
The fact finding mission is an activity output from the Enhancing Saint Lucia’s Trading Environment and Export Capabilities Project under the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Standby Facility for Capacity Building. An important focus of the project is to build the capacity of Saint Lucia’s Saint Lucia’s trade promotion and business support organisations (TPOs/BSOs) by providing trade support services that are gender responsive, more socially inclusive and relevant to increasing Saint Lucia’s exporters of goods and services.
Some 26 Saint Lucian enterprises from the Agriculture and Agro-processing, Food and Beverage, Creative Services, and Health and Wellness sectors have been selected to receive assistance under the project. This will take the form of market penetration and capacity building plans accessed through trade promotion and business support organisations. The EPA Study tour team come from umbrella organisations representing these sectors. The team comprises Andrena Simon, Senior Marketing and Promotion Officer, TEPA, Ms. Yvonne Agard, Executive Director, SLCSI and Ronald Ramjattan, President, SMA.
TEPA’s selection of Germany, France and Spain for the EPA tour was informed by consultations with the selected SMEs which noted an expressed preference for, or comfort level with the Caribbean region priority export markets. Key constraints cited related to transportation costs, supply side constraints, Language difficulties, cultural distance and the capacity of SMEs to understand the regulatory environment.
TEPA’s Senior Marketing and Promotions Officer, Andrena Simon said the countries selected for the tour are best appreciated when considered against the mandate of the EPA, which is to improve the prospects for successful integration of CARIFORUM States into a globalised economic environment. The objective of the agencies implementing the project is to ensure that the benefits of international trade contribute to the socio-economic development of Saint Lucia, and achieved by expanding and diversifying production, exports of goods and services, and markets. “Therefore, the study tour will help us gather yield information on these markets that can help address some of the gaps identified by SMEs in accessing the EU markets and institutions and as it relates to best practice”, Ms. Simon concluded.
The Enhancing Saint Lucia’s Trading Environment and Export Capabilities Project is funded under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), and disbursed through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).