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Barbados Seeks Prosperity Through Economic Diversification

by Phillip Morton, Investors Offshore.com

29 December 2011


Barbados' Former Prime Minister and the nation's ambassador to China, Lloyd Erskine Sandiford has warned the island that the days of preferential market access are over, and Barbados must now urgently revamp its stance and actions to diversify the economy, and in particular enhance its share of world trade.

Delivering the keynote address at a trade seminar, entitled Engaging China: Options, Opportunities and Strategies, Sandiford encouraged participants to look outside traditional markets and to focus on the Chinese and East Asian markets.

"From where I am located, I advocate a special focus on the markets of China and East Asia which are the most promising and resilient in world trade today and into the foreseeable future.”

“America will recover, and a different Europe will emerge. But the days of preferential markets are over. We can no longer hope to hang on to the coat-tails of those metropolitan centres," he said.

He called for less talk and "a redoubling of our efforts" towards seeking out investments and engaging the potential of other economic sectors besides the service industry.

"No longer is it enough to proclaim that we are a service industry economy, as though services are all that we are about, and that services are the be-all and end-all of our economic thrust.... what I am really calling for is a redoubling of our efforts to raise significantly the output for the potential of other economic sectors, including agriculture and fisheries production, processing and manufacturing," he added.

"We must unbind ourselves from old ideas, and hitch ourselves to the wagon of new ideas.”

Sandiford, however, noted that Barbados should continue to place importance on tourism, business and the financial services sectors and suggested that the country needed to invest more in its tourism plant, solar energy, water conservation and recycling activities. He said that China was a possible source for such investments.

TAGS: tax | business | energy | financial services | international financial centres (IFC) | China | manufacturing | trade | Barbados | services

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