Government and private sector discuss revised National Export Strategy

Representatives of Government and private sector were seated this morning in the same room at the Belize Biltmore Plaza to discuss the revised National Export Strategy and accompanying five-year action programme first presented in 2006.Initially intended to last four years, the strategy ran into problems related with implementation. BELTRAIDE Executive Director Nicholas Ruiz tells PLUS News what is being done to correct that.
Nicholas Ruiz – BELTRADE Executive Director:  
vlcsnap-2013-04-11-21h15m00s221One of the things that keeps coming up in the meetings is that “How is this going to be used?” Is it just another launch of a document that will sit there? And we’re saying, look at the previous National Export Strategy for Belize which was for the period 2008 – 2012.  It was begun in 2006.  Many lessons were learned from that experience.  That National Export Strategy didn’t have a national plan.  It didn’t have the necessary oversight in the form of a project stearing committee like we have now.  Those were the immediate things that we needed to realize, to see what we can do differently now, to ensure that above all this document translates into action on the ground, and it brings economic development to Belizeans.  That is what’s different.

According to Ruiz, “competitiveness” is a cornerstone of the new strategy. He explains what it means.

Nicholas Ruiz – BELTRADE Executive Director:  
Being competitive means looking at the processes, looking at what’s currently in place to better those mechanisms.  Belize must do that to its National Export Strategy.  It is part of what we’re trying to do here, and a lot of work must be done in terms of developing Belize’s competitiveness, developing the national quality infrastructure, developing the physical infrastructure itself.

Also speaking at the opening of the one-day workshop was CEO in the Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, Michael Singh, who emphasized that Belize needs to take advantage of its unique position and avoid situations where it can lose workers to other countries, mentioning in particular the ACTYL connection with McDonald’s in Western Canada. Visiting manager of trade and export development for the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), David Gomez, a native Belizean, says the country has previously lost out on opportunities for development because those in the business development sector feel it is not worth it to come here and urged listeners today to be active in the discussion. Final vetting by the Economic Development Council will take place before Cabinet offers its endorsement.

About the Author