National Focus

Government committed to advancing trade efforts

by: Jaimie Smith, News Reporter - Published Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Government of The Bahamas is committed to continuing the efforts initiated through to Hubei, China to The Bahamas Trade Mission with the local business sector, said State Minister for Finance, Michael Halkitis.

“This is an objective of the government, not only with the Chinese with the promotion of trade, to sponsor these trade events, not only going abroad, but also bring people here, where they will have the opportunity to see, what we have to offer,” Halkitis added.

The Hubei, China to the Bahamas Trade Mission was held on Grand Bahama at the Grand Lucayan Resort on November 30 and at that time Halkitis shared that the Government of The Bahamas is very much interested in its continued involvement and assistance with similar trade missions throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Questioned  whether or not the government has a particular goal and/or objective to assist with similar trade missions in the future Halkitis responded, “This event is actually co-sponsored by the Ministry for Grand Bahama. The idea is to have these sorts of trade missions where businesspersons from China, come here and meet directly, face-to-face, firstly, with government and the Chamber of Commerce and then one-on-one with businesses, to explore the opportunities.

“Moving forward, we want to provide that financial support along with the Chamber of Commerce and private businesses like Immerse Bahamas, to be able to bring people face-to-face. We think that it is valuable if persons are able to sit down face-to-face, so that they can better explore opportunities,” shared Halkitis. 

During the Hubei, China trade talks, the delegation got the opportunity to tour several facilities on the island.

According to Halkitis, the tour gave the delegation a better appreciation of not only the island itself, but what it has to offer.

He noted that by doing so, the delegates were able to view the physical attributes and beauty of the island; perhaps fostering opportunities for further investments.

“It is going to be a program where the Ministry for Grand Bahama will be instrumental in bringing investors to The Bahamas. What I, particularly like about this is as part of this trade mission, there is going to be an opportunity for the Chinese to sit down with their Bahamian counterparts and have that one-on-one meeting and talk about what could happen. 

“Hopefully, in a few of those meetings, some ideas can be birthed and conceived; either they speak about us bringing over Chinese products but also there is the possibility for Bahamian products to go to China; it is not an unusual possibility.”

He disclosed that earlier this year he travelled to South Korea where beer and coffee produced in Latin America and Jamaica are now being sold. “It is a possibility that some of our products can be sold there as well. I see there is a very high interest in our seafood, I am happy to see some of the local producers out here; it is not far fetched. We are hopeful that this event can give birth to some real projects.”

The State Minister for Finance said,”When you speak of an economy growing, the Chairman of Conference spoke about this particular province of Hubei, being a province of 61 million people. It is all about commerce, business; you go where the opportunities lie. If, for example, you are looking for a place to invest from the United States, China or the Middle East you have to follow the opportunities. 

“In so doing you have to look at what is in the best interest in The Bahamas, what sort of accommodations can be made in terms of business. Wherever it is, you do your due diligence, the whole idea is to facilitate trade. The fact of the matter is, China has the second largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the world; it cannot be ignored. We look for countries all over the world to facilitate trade, including China,” acknowledged Halkitis.  

In order to ensure that such trade missions are facilitated to fruition, Halkitis added, “The big first step is to get the people together; secondly, at the end of this there needs to be a session where we can get an idea on what some of the discussions and points were, see if there are some opportunities, and then see what the government can do. 

“There may be an opportunity, but there may be a need for other forms of facilitation. The idea is at the conclusion of this, to get some feedback and see what is the government’s role. I think this is a good first step,” concluded Halkitis.  

 

Published  Wednesday, December 9, 2015

 

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