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Barbados seeks to boost trade ties with Nova Scotia

Barbados seeks to boost trade ties with Nova Scotia

Posted by Shanelle Weir on June 11, 2014

A delegation of Barbados government and business officials were in Halifax on Monday to discuss trade opportunities with Nova Scotia.“Barbados is the third-largest recipient of foreign direct investment out of Canada,” Donville Inniss, the Caribbean island’s minister of industry, international business, commerce and small-business development, said in an interview Monday.

Inniss led a delegation of 10 companies and business support organizations from Barbados to Halifax.

The delegation took part in a luncheon hosted by Nova Scotia Business Inc., the province’s business development agency, and a networking reception hosted by NSBI, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Black Business Initiative. Inniss said he didn’t know the value of trade between Nova Scotia and Barbados, which has a population of about 300,000 people. But he said he saw opportunities in trading Barbados rum, spice and condiments for Nova Scotia seafood and agricultural products.

“We’re looking forward to some very positive outcomes.”

Several Canadian companies operate in Barbados in sectors such as mining, he said. Liesl Harewood, trade development executive with the provincial business development agency, said her organization has been fostering trade opportunities in the Caribbean, and Barbados, for several years.

Missions to the Caribbean have been multi-sectoral, ranging from educational services and fisheries to information technology and engineering, she said. Harewood acknowledged Barbados was a small individual market, but she said it was part of a wider and larger Caribbean community.

Barbados and the Caribbean aren’t unfamiliar territory for some major Nova Scotia businesses and business leaders. Emera Inc., parent company of Nova Scotia Power Inc., is majority owner of Light & Power Holdings Ltd. Light & Power Holdings is the parent company of Barbados Light & Power, majority shareholder in Dominica Electricity Services Ltd. and an investor in St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd. Prominent Nova Scotia entrepreneur John Risley, co-founder of Clearwater Seafoods in Bedford, is director of Columbus Communications of Barbados, which provides Internet, cable and telephone services to the Caribbean.

According to a 2013 federal government fact sheet on relations with Barbados, bilateral merchandise trade between the two countries totalled $50.4 million in 2010.

Canadian exports to Barbados worth $40.7 million included meat, paper, machinery, pharmaceuticals, wood and plastic.

Imports to Canada from Barbados worth $9.7 million included beverages, iron and steel, leather art and handbags, and electronic equipment.

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