• Barbados


    Development challenges
    The economy of Barbados is based on tourism, the international business sector and construction related foreign direct investment. These sectors have replaced sugar as the underpinnings of an economy that has traditionally been among the wealthiest in the Caribbean. This island maintains one of the highest GDP per capita among developing countries, currently at US$ 23,600, and high human development indicators, ranked 47th out of 187 countries by the UN Human Development Index . Its economy is supported by an open trade regime, a stable policy environment, high-quality infrastructures and strong human capital . Real GDP grew at an annual average rate of 3.9% between 2002 and 2007 . However, as most countries in the region, Barbados has been severely affected by the global financial crisis. The economic activity contracted by a cumulative 5% between 2008 and 2010 . The economy, with a GDP of US$ 6.5 Bn, is expected to grow again supported by a recovery in the tourism and construction sectors . The country is facing development challenges including:

    • High public debt, currently at 120% of the GDP
    • Vulnerable to external shocks and natural disasters (including droughts, hurricanes and earthquakes)
    • Narrow production base and diseconomies of scale
    • Poverty and inequality, with 13% of its population below the poverty line and a Gini coefficient of 42
    • Insecurity

    Key trade issues 

    • Further economic and commercial regional integration within CARICOM
    • As a CARIFORUM member, further implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement between this regional group and the EU
    • As part of CARICOM, finalise negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Canada
    • Strengthen the competitiveness of its export oriented sugar and banana producers, due to the reduction of the guaranteed EU sugar price and the cut of the preferential margin for ACP banana-exporting countries set by the EU banana trade regime

    Government priorities

    The National Strategic Plan of Barbados 2005- 2025 presents the strategic goals of the government of Barbados. Their midterm objectives are described in the Barbados Medium Term Strategy 2010-2014
    The main goals and objectives are:

    • Build social cohesion, achieve self reliance and ensure social justice
    •  Remodel the public service, enhance popular political participation and maintain good and stable industrial relations
    • Expand the level of education and training, eradicate poverty and ensure affordable and quality shelter
    • Strengthen the physical infrastructure and preserve the environment
    • Enhance Barbados´ prosperity and competitiveness
    • Promote Barbados brand globally

    Trade and Tariff Graphs

    Graphs of the country’s export markets, its export performance in a key sector and tariffs exporters of a sample product face.
    Trademap sample Trademap sample: The map uses color codes to illustrate the relative size of different markets in the overall exports of the country shown in pink.
    Trademap sample Trademap sample: The vertical axis shows import values by key importing countries, while the horizontal axis shows export values by the country for the same sector. I.e. the country has gained market share in the case of an importing country at the bottom right of chart and lost market share for countries top left. The size of circles is proportional to market size.
    Market access map sample Market access map sample: The world map shows trade values and tariff levels for a key export product by importing countries. Color codes indicate protection levels. Red circles denote trade volumes.

    Trade and Investment Data

    Detailed data on the country’s export performance, key imports and foreign investment, grouped by product and service categories (HS and BOP).

    Trade Information Sources

    A listing of country specific print and online publications on trade related topics. Includes information from both ITC and external sources.

    Trade Contacts

    The most important trade contacts, including importers’ and exporters’ associations, trade support institutions, trade promotion organizations and institutions providing business development assistance.