PRESS RELEASE – The Government of Saint Lucia in partnership with key private sector representative bodies and individuals has initiated the process for the design and preparation of a new National Export Development Strategy [NEDS] for Saint Lucia that addresses the country’s priority needs for an expanded range, volume and value exports.
The process of designing and implementing a National Export Strategy must of necessity be embarked upon as a national development effort encompassing the full range of organisations, both private and public, concerned with, or with influence over, the country’s international competitiveness.
Representatives of these organisations must actively participate throughout the strategy design phase, either as members of the NES Strategy Team or as providers of advice and information. Only in this way can the export strategy be a truly relevant and at the same time galvanise support for its formulation and implementation.
In keeping with this approach, government and private sector agencies in the key export sectors met on Wednesday May 21, 2014 to establish the National Coordinating Team (NCT) to spearhead the design and formulation of the NEDS.
The NCT is private sector-led. Paula Calderon, immediate past President of the SMA, and Yvonne Agard, Executive Director of the Saint Lucia Coalition of Service Industries, were elected to co-chair the team at its inaugural meeting.
The NCT comprises:
• representatives of enterprises (private sector business associations etc.);
• representatives of key business services providers (e.g. transport providers, packaging materials suppliers, trade finance providers, micro-finance, etc.);
• representative of the lead Ministry responsible for the development of the NEDS viz the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs;
• representatives of other key Ministries essential to trade and export development (e.g. Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Planning, etc.) and
• representative of the lead trade support institutions responsible for providing support to, and promoting, export competitiveness and development (customs, trade promotion, ports, statistics office, etc.).
The NCT will function as the principal vehicle/mechanism for fostering the level of coordinated public and private sector partnership that is needed to support the export development effort involving all pertinent stakeholders – the exporters (existing, emerging, potential), the private sector generally and relevant public sector entities in ensuring the development of the NEDS, and its effective implementation.
Members of the NCT are expected to bring to the process issues of interest, of potential impact or significance to their sector and the economy as a whole, for example, policy issues, human resources, financing, market development and others.
It is hoped that the functioning of the NCT will conduce to the eventual development of a unified umbrella entity to advocate for and represent the interest of exporters such as an “Exporters Association”. Furthermore the NCT is expected to help guide the process to ensure an effective transition from design to implementation.
The formulation of a National Export Strategy is one of the immediate priority initiatives of the Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) a satellite agency of the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, investment and Consumer Affairs which was formally established in December 2013.
The indicative timeframe for development of strategy is at least one year.