from a friend...

I just noticed this item from a couple of days ago on the 7 tv news.
It appears very interesting in that many products are ready for export
duty-free to the EU. Traditionally we look to the North American
market, time to look a little further?

Organically grown cacao, shrimp, maybe pepper sauces and condiments,
bamboo handicraft etc.?


Access to 450 million consumers in 26 countries and duty free status
for most exports, that's the offer that the European Union is hoping
small economies in the Caribbean like Belize won't refuse. Today at
the Biltmore the Ministry of National Development began a two day
seminar on promoting sustainable development through economic and
trade cooperation between Belize and the EU.

It sounds like a mouthful, but over the two days private sector
participants will be given an earful on how to tap into the European
market. Hugh O'Brien, who is the national authorizing officer for EU
Projects, says European consumers want more than just our sugar,
banana, and citrus.

Hugh O'Brien, CEO Ministry of National Development
"The European Union's relationship with Belize allows us to export a
whole range of commodities with duty free access and the EU has given
us that developmental window for us to take advantage of it and we
have essentially saddled in and settle for sugar, banana, and citrus.
And so there's going to be a special presentation that will offer the
private sector some of these opportunities."

Carlo Pettinato, European Union
"The European Union is the most wide open market in the world. You can
export duty free to the European Union, virtually all your product and
we are the biggest market in the world, we have 450 million consumers
who have a very high purchasing capacity. Of course it is up to the
Belizean people, Belizean private sector to find the opportunities.
What we can say is that we are doing everything to help Belize and
also to improve their supply capacity and we have certain projects
under development but in the it is up to the entrepreneurship of the
private sector in Belize to take the opportunities."

Hugh O'Brien,
"I must say one of the commodities that has really taken advantage of
the opportunities offered is shrimp. The Belize Agricultural Health
Authority (BAHA) was certified as the competent authority by the EU in
2002, after about three years of existence, and shrimp exporters are
now taking advantage of that special window for us to export shrimp.
The advantage we have is that when we export shrimp we have access to
25, 26 countries at one time."