BVI News

Premier to regional leaders: ‘Limitless’ opportunities exist for trade at this time

Premier Andrew Fahie

Premier and Minister for Finance Andrew Fahie told Caribbean leaders on Monday that the opportunities for regional trade are limitless at this time.

The Premier said the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), which has impacted trade on a global scale, could also provide the proverbial silver lining for the region in terms of becoming self-sustainable.

He said COVID-19 pandemic, which is now present in almost every Caribbean island, is not “the only challenge” for the region to overcome.

“The present and projected economic impacts of this pandemic will prove to be another major test for us all. The very necessary social distancing protocols are affecting all workplaces from factories to administration offices. They are affecting sales, whether it is large businesses or small cottage operations. They are also affecting customers’ ability to access goods,” Premier Fahie said during to the online Intra-Regional Commerce and Trade Symposium.

He painted the picture that as stockpiles in warehouses around the world become depleted and raw materials are difficult to obtain, export could become few and far between, and the people of the region would be affected.

“You know as well as I do, my friends, that day is just around the bend … now that the coronavirus is here,” Fahie reasoned.

Opportunities are there

On that note, the Premier told the regional leaders that the opportunities are there to explore, and the British Virgin Islands is one of the markets “to pay attention to”.

“The BVI is a popular tourist destination, and we entertain a lot of boat charters, yachts and hotel guests. There is a high demand for quality food products – processed and unprocessed — as well as apparel and other goods. The possibilities are literally limitless in terms that it is almost a certainty that any goods produced in the region is needed in the BVI, right down to tissue paper,” the Premier stated.

The Premier then pointed out that if the region works collaboratively to deliver quality goods at competitive prices, it will not only stimulate business and economic growth but ensure that the people are clothed and fed and have jobs to sustain them.

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10 Comments

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  1. Indeed says:

    I applaud the Premier of this territory. Without saying more, he is a true visionary.

    Like 9
    Dislike 8
    • Visionary ? says:

      Where there’s no Vision the people perish. (Hon Lavity Stoutt). The VIP government has led the BVI for some 40+ years and Hon Fahie served with the VIP 20+ of those years. While this Caribbean Trading proposition has a nice ring to it and to some extent sounds visionary and will likely be on the airways during Campaign 2023, trading with the greater Caribbean isn’t anything new.
      More Visionary are associcians such as CARIFTA (Caribbean Free Trade Association -1965), ACS (Association Of Caribbean States – 1995) and Caricom (Caribbean Community 1968)
      Meanwhile: Shell Oil has been winning the bid to supply the fuel our generators. Products from Jamaica are regularly advertised on the air waves and their brand of music has certainly helped to bring notoriety to the region. Likewise Trinidad’s calypso and steel Pan have made their impact, while many of their products are finding their way on our shelves. St. Vincent has been exporting Hiron Beer, soft drinks and spirits for over 15 years. Dominica’s produce are regularly sold under tents in Road Town and Virgin Gorda. The popular Club Med tall ships and others on their cruises through the BVIs import the usual one-pound lobsters from Guadeloupe and Martinique. BVI folks frequently vacation and shop in Puerto Rico and St. Martin while our fishermen usually participate in St.Martin’s annual Bill Fish Tournament. while they participates in Spanish Town, (Virgin Gorda), Fisherman’s Jamboree during the Easter weekend celebrations.
      Of course Caribbean Inter-island trading can be much more fine tuned and improved through an incentivised Tax structure; along with establishing a well organized Trade Route and schedules. An even greater benefit could be implemented by the creation of a Caribbean Stock Exchange”

  2. state of emergency says:

    assishness

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
  3. Watchers says:

    They need to BRI g a better internet service as well. The net is awful in the country.

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
    • Anonymous says:

      And the prices don’t watch the servise at all. service is poor, prices are expolitatively high, does not give vakue for cost, and customers have no recourse from government. Sad living under such exploitative economic conditions.

  4. EU citizen says:

    A ridiculous statement by an ignorant man.

  5. E. Leonard says:

    Spending local creates a multiplier effect in the economy, ie, creating employment and an income stream, sustaining businesses and creating opportunity for starting new businesses. Similarly, spending regionally also creates a multiplier effect in regional economies. The Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic IMO has exposed some economic vulnerabilities and weaknesses in small, remote island nations in the Caribbean region.

    Most nations depend heavily on tourism, a highly fragile economic sector, making them susceptible to external shocks. As often stated, when advanced countries catches a cold, small locales like the Caribbean catches pneumonia. Moreover, the Caribbean region has a huge import bill.

    Nonetheless, there is an opportunity to improve/upgrade inter-island/region trade among regional countries, ie, food production. Most Caricom countries import approx 80% of its food and only Guyana and a few others produce more than 50% of its food. Caricom 2019 food import bill was approx $(US)4.7B and it is projected to increase markedly in 2020.

    Moreover, the region must collaborate and cooperate to reduce the food import bill, along with other with other commodities. Reducing the food import bill will boost economies, increased employment and enhanced regional food security. It will face a challenge with cost of multinational corporation imports, ie, production cost but the challenge is not insurmountable.

    Regional countries must produce what they have a comparative advantage in and trade for the rest. For example, Dominica may have comparative advantage in citrus, ie, fruits, juice, preservatives…….etc so it should probably focus on citrus and leave nutmeg production to Grenada.

    Further, the region must collaborate on uniting. The region would have been in a better position if the West Indies Federation (1958-1962) had been given a fighting chance. The, ‘one from ten leaves nought,’ comment by the late, former T&T PM Dr. Eric Williams on 15 January 1962 came to fruition. Insularity killed the Federation.

    Every little brown dot in the Caribbean Sea going it alone is challenging. The region should be doing much better with its standard of living, quality of life and per capita income. A small percentage (1%?) is doing well with the masses catching hell. Unification works for US, Canada, Australia, and EU(?) so why can’t it work for the Anglophone Caribbean countries?

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
    • Disinterested says:

      A dollar probably circulates in the BVI and other regional countries one time, for they heavily import goods. $4.7B on food import bill is nuff money leaving the region and the region has to stop this leakage, this hemorrhaging. However, to compete with big overseas companies, they have to compete on safety, quality, price, steady supply, scale , scope…….etc. Dominica is the bread basket of the region so it can definitely compete with citrus products. However, it has to buck up on marketing, packaging……..etc. The BVI produces little for export and imports heavily so it will have a trade deficit with the region but at least it will be spending regionally.

    • Eagle and Buffalo says:

      One from ten leaves nought was some new math that didn’t work. The West Indies Federation[1958-1962] collapsed prematurely and its collapse ill-served the region and was not in the public good. It has been 58 years since the premature collapse yet no serious attempt at unification has emerged.

      Clearly, the region has a huge import bill in the billions that the region to the maximum extent practical should work to reduce. It is an opportunity for the region to use its resources and talent to meet some of its need, build its economy, create employment, enhance food and other security……etc. Though the region is relatively resource-poor, it must maximize its scarce regional resources for the good of the region and its people. During Colonialism, the region’s resources was shipped out to benefit the UK, France, Spain…….etc.citizens. The region must learn from that experience.

      [Lets lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes]

  6. voiceofthevoiceless says:

    I applaud the Premier in taking this bold initiative and facilitating this symposium. This Administration has been more about regional co-operation than any of the previous administrations and that is good vision. However vision without action and proper execution is unforgivable as it is regrettable.

    No more shows let us hope that we follow up on this as food security is crucial in this world that don’t care for islands except for a vacation or offshore finance. Questions remain. Can we as a Caribbean make enough food to sustain the Caribbean region? A lot of countries have abandoned their agriculture for the services industry. Then what happens in cases like this pandemic where there is a panic rush for food depleting resources?
    What about the cost of freight? What about import taxes will they be reduced to allow for the goods to compete on the local market?

    Another thing is that we already have to some degree is that they are already Caribbean products on the market. Findlay at TGS , Clint from Dominica, Dom. rep and others sell these products regularly. There is a market for that already. Can we not work to build on that market? Then what about our own local farming? How can we get some assistance and cooperation on improving our farming techniques?

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