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  • THE CARIBBEAN

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  • THE CARIBBEAN

    Countries in the Caribbean region have unique trade challenges.  Despite their proximity to the large markets of the United States and Canada, and free access to numerous products in North America and the European Union, Caribbean exporters face significant hurdles. The small size of the countries, high production and especially transport costs all hamper their export competitiveness.

    ITC is working to address these challenges by supporting national export strategy development, capacity building for trade support institutions and companies and through the facilitation of a dialogue on the implementation of a regional strategy.

    The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed recently by CARIFORUM countries with the European Union opens new prospects for cooperation and trade development.  This is the first time that Caribbean countries are participating in a reciprocal trade liberalization scheme with a major and economically stronger trading partner.

    There are at the same time several market niches waiting to be exploited. This is true especially for creative enterprises if they could obtain technical assistance in the fields of market research, design, standard certification, packaging and product adaptation to the requirements of selected target markets and tourists visiting the region. The creative industries sector is highly differentiated across countries and across sub-sectors. Countries such as Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago have better infrastructure and a better track record in export performance, particularly in music, publishing, visual arts and film. The Caribbean Export Development Agency, working jointly with the national export promotion agencies, has prioritized four sectors for increasing their performance in the coming years. Creative industries was one of them.

    ITC is currently working with Provinest and Europaid on a project to promote the creative sector as a viable contributor to CARIFORUM’s export diversification and export growth goals.

    More specifically, the project aims to:

    • Build capacity among selected micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to respond to international market demands, particularly with regard to product design and development.
    • Enhance the capacity of Caribbean Export; the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States  Export Development Unit (OECS EDU) to provide improved marketing and networking services to the Creative Industries sector.
    • Increase awareness of the CARIFORUM Creative Industries sector.

    Few Caribbean countries have developed effective national trade promotion programs to address their major challenges. Even those that have, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, still need specific assistance in the development of non-traditional sectors. In mainland countries such as Guyana, Surinam and Belize, which could develop sizeable export industries adding value to their natural resources, existing export schemes need to be strengthened and market strategies identified. Smaller islands need to pool efforts in their export development activities, particularly in the service sectors. Haiti is a special case due to the recent earthquake: its export companies and cooperatives require urgent support.