A 10-member business delegation from St. Lucia led by Bradly Felix, Minister in the Department of Commerce, International Trade, Investment Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs, and including the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, representatives of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Manufacturers Association, and the Small Business Association of St. Lucia, returned home recently after a successful tour of Taiwan.
Among the highlights of the 5-day visit was the St. Lucia/Taiwan Business Forum held last Wednesday, which was jointly hosted by the Small and Medium Enterprise Association of Taiwan; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan; and Embassy of St. Lucia in Taiwan. The industrial tour to the heartland of manufacturing in Taiwan included visits to two major exhibitions.
At the business forum, Felix gave an overview of the government of St. Lucia’s policy of investment and trade, including the steps currently being taken to enhance the ease of doing business in St. Lucia. He stated that his government’s open door policy on joint venture investments is in conformity to the laws of St Lucia.
The Minister reiterated that investors should not just look at the St. Lucia market, but rather look at investment in St Lucia as a window to the wider Caribbean and Latin American market with whom St. Lucia has special trading arrangements.
Permanent Secretary Titus Preville, in a PowerPoint presentation, made a strong case on the attractiveness of St. Lucia for investment in a range of areas. He also gave details on the incentives regime of the Government of St. Lucia. In the ensuing discussions, there was much interest shown by various sectors of the small and medium enterprises of Taiwan.
International Affairs coordinator of the SMEA of Taiwan, Mike Hung, welcomed the Minister and his delegation and gave an overview of investment and trade activities his association had been engaged in in various parts of the world. He stated that the SMEA welcomed the opportunity to learn more of the investment and trade opportunities of St. Lucia and looked forward to partnerships with St. Lucian counterparts in various business fields,
On Thursday, the delegation visited four factories in the industrial heartland of Taichung, which included: a manufacturer of packaging materials, including plastic and glass bottles; a furniture manufacturer of blinds and shutters; a distillery, which manufactures a range of drinks using rice and other local materials; and a manufacturer of safety hooks used for rock climbing, utility workers and heavy lifting by giant cranes and ships. That particular company manufactures 70% of safety hooks worldwide.
During these visits a number of important contacts were made with manufacturers and suppliers. There were also official engagements with the Ministries of Economic Affairs, and Foreign Affairs and the Taiwan External Trade Development Agency, with each agency welcoming the initiative which sought to increase trade and investment between St. Lucia and Taiwan.
An important conclusion to the visit was the Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Taiwan and the Chamber of Commerce of St. Lucia agreeing on the terms of an MOU which stands to benefit the Chamber going forward. The MOU is expected to be signed in the near future, after ratification by the members of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.