Belize’s Aid for Trade Strategy was launched earlier today at the Radisson. The Aid for Trade Strategy is designed to support the government in the identification of priorities for building trade capacity and initiating dialogue with donors and investors. The conference had participation of the Inter-American Development Bank, CARICOM representatives, and members of private and public sectors. The outcome of the session will be closely monitored across the Caribbean, as other CARICOM member countries are expected to use it as a starting point when a regional Aid for Trade Strategy is developed. According to the CEO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, there are several areas that should be developed to improve the quality of exports.
Ambassador Alexis Rosado, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
“There are a number of things that have already been identified. For example we need to improve standards—in terms of technical standards in terms of sanitary and phytosanitary standards. We need to improve our enterprise competitiveness; the business sector competitiveness generally neds to be improved. We need to improve our infrastructure, you already mentioned it and there are certain things that have to be done before we are able to compete even regionally. For example port facilities, customs facilities need to be revamped and improved so that we can catch up just with the region. And if we want to take a lead forward in our competitiveness, we have to use more advanced countries as our benchmarks, we can’t be trying to compete or trying to emulate what other countries in our same level do. So part of what we are doing is identifying key priorities—four pillars and under that we will have projects and programs that will be developed to remove the constraints and to improve our productivity and competitiveness.”
Krista Lucenti, Economist, Inter-American Development Bank
“We have already picked up on one of the projects identified in the action matrix. We will be funding a transport and trade facilitation assessment which falls under the infrastructure and trade facilitation priority that the government has set up. So we will already be picking up one of those and we’ll be funding that assessment to identify exactly what are some of the infrastructure cost, the transport cost, to have a better understanding of not only what the financial cost but the economic cost of delays at borders and at ports. So already just to say that the projects and the activities identified by the Government of Belize have been a large help to us in working with them on the pipeline for projects for I.D.B. assistance.”
David Hales, External Trade Caricom Secretariat
“It’s very pleasing to be here because at the level of CARICOM, we are also involved in developing a regional aid for trade strategy. It goes without saying that the regional strategy must have synergies with the national strategies and what we learnt today about the work which has gone into development of the strategy by Belize, the wide ranging consultative process, the partnership between government and private sector will also inform the approach that we are going to be taken to the development of the CARICOM regional strategy for ‘Aid for Trade.’ And in that regard, I also wish to place on record the appreciation of the CARICOM secretariat which is also being supported by the Inter-American Development Bank to develop the CARICOM regional strategy on ‘Aid for Trade.’