THE seventh annual Saint Lucia-Taiwan Partnership Trade Exhibition opened yesterday morning at the Baywalk Shopping Mall.
The exhibition is the premier platform for business networking among participating local and Taiwanese businesses in an effort to increase trade between the two countries.
About two dozen booths featuring a wide range of products from Saint Lucia and Taiwan have been set up for the exhibition which runs until tomorrow afternoon. Among the products on display are electronics, clothing, liquor, arts and craft, soaps and lotions, handbags and sandals, and jams and jellies.
“We’re happy to see that this event has become a very prestigious event for both Saint Lucia and the Republic of China (Taiwan),” Ambassador Chang said at yesterday’s opening. “The main purpose for the Saint Lucia-Taiwan Partnership Trade Exhibition is to create the platform to mutually introduce products to consumers. With this occasion, Saint Lucians and Taiwanese will interact with each other to see what benefits can be derived.”
Four Taiwanese companies are part of the three-day trade exhibition now open on the fifth floor of the Baywalk Shopping Mall, offering items such as electronics, solar panel lighting, among others.
Deputy Prime Minister, Phillip J. Pierre, said the annual event has scored some success during its course, with many local companies continuing to buy into the idea of showcasing their wares where opportunities for both local and foreign networking can take place.
“In terms of whether the exhibition has provided an opportunity for the local business community to showcase their goods and services into Saint Lucia, I think the exhibition has been a real success,” Pierre said. “More and more local firms look forward to this exhibition as the venue and occasion to introduce new products to the public and educate local consumers on existing products. In this regard, the exhibition serves as a major marketing opportunity for local firms.”
However, Pierre said local manufacturers need to do more to network themselves so as to tap into the opportunities that exist in the Taiwanese market.
“As it pertains to local companies making contact with Taiwanese suppliers of new and efficient inputs for local companies, I think there has been limited success. Maybe the time has come for local manufacturers to make direct contact with Taiwanese buyers and producers of raw materials for participation in trade fairs,” Pierre explained.
Pierre said that while distance might play a role in limiting the amount of trade that can exist between Taiwan and Saint Lucia, Taiwanese businesses based in the nearby United States should be encouraged to make specific investments in Saint Lucia. He added that Invest Saint Lucia in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce can play a major role in making that happen. The time for capitalizing on such bilateral trade opportunities is ripe, Pierre said.
“It is the right time to make a well-defined and organized push on the Taiwanese business interests in the U.S.A. and Taiwan (for) the possible investment opportunities in tourism, yachting and ICT (information and communications technology) that exist in our island,” Pierre said.
The exhibition continues today and ends tomorrow and is open during the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.