Today, the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA) participated in the BVI’s Intra-Regional Commerce and Trade Symposium hosted by the Premier’s Office via Zoom. Ten Caribbean countries, including the Virgin Islands were represented by their Chambers of Commerce and/ or Government Ministries. The objectives of the symposium were: 1.) Obtain a broad overview of the demands and capabilities of the business sectors in the region with respect to trade within the region; 2.) Identify obstacles to intra-regional trade and recommend solutions, inclusive of logistics and legislative issues; and 3.) Create a foundation for increasing the networking among the members of the business sectors in the various countries of the region. The meeting discussion covered identifying goods and products that are in demand, goods and products the region can supply, logistical requirements for trade, and legislative obstacles to trade. During the open discussion, participants provided a synopsis of goods and products manufactured and/ or exported in their jurisdictions. It was a vibrant discussion where businesses and trade opportunities were identified and issues around shipping logistics and regulatory framework were touched on. It concluded with a commitment voiced by all to work together as a region to build stronger trading relationships going forward. The Premier promised follow-up actions will be executed in short order to ensure that this first step bears fruit in the short- and long-term.
The BVICCHA’s interim Chairman, Ms. Shaina M. Smith shared in her remarks that “business and economic disruptions are the new abnormal, as we all address the public health crisis that has spawned an economic one and we now must, as we say, ‘learn to chew gum and walk’ as we safeguard the most valuable asset in any country, its human capital, and sustain the economic system that sustains us.” She stated that the region's private sectors need to close ranks and strategise to complement and supplement each other's economic success and her hope is to see a regional symbiotic relationship where trade opportunities are explored across imports, exports, market expansion and/or economic diversification.