Barbados Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy has welcomed the ‘highly productive’ meetings held with officials and business leaders in Panama aimed at enhancing bilateral trade and boosting tourism receipts for both countries.
Both countries committed during the five-day trip to enhance bilateral trade and look at opportunities for exporters in Barbados to tap the Latin American market using existing infrastructure and trade arrangements, including through Panama’s Colon Free Trade Zone.
The Colón Free Trade Zone is situated at the Atlantic gateway to the Panama Canal and acts as a tax-free re-export hub. More than 2,500 companies are established there, shipping more than USD 16bn of goods annually.
Representatives of the Chambers of Commerce from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States have praised the initiative, stating that the Caribbean needs “to work together to realise tangible trade benefits and the mission was a good start”. They urged Caribbean territories to work together on international trade issues rather than competing with one another.
Talks were also held for the first time with Copa Airlines on establishing air links between Barbados and Panama.