The Invest Dominica Authority (IDA) is taking on several initiatives as part of efforts to increase foreign direct investments. Dominica welcomed a delegation of thirty French business representatives from Martinique and Guadeloupe. During the period of June 12 to 17, several events and meetings will be hosted to orient the delegates on conducting business in Dominica and engaging the local business community for investment and partnership opportunities.
An Inward Investment Mission welcome ceremony was hosted on Monday, June 13 at the Jungle Bay Resort and Spa. The reception also showcased a few of Dominica’s products. Products from Benjo’s Seamoss, The Kalinago Territory Woven Baskets, Nature’s Blends, Café La Ville, Jolly’s Manufacturing, Layou Park Nature Farms and Bee Natural.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Business and Export Development, Mrs. Margaret Roudette-Baptist says Government through the Ministry of Trade fully endorses the Inward Investment Mission. She says trade is believed to be the main catalyst of productivity and growth.
“The Commonwealth of Dominica seeks to strengthen and diversify its trading relationships with regional and bilateral partners. The closer the proximity at this time the better since we seek to alleviate food security concerns and supply chain dislocations which wreak havoc on our ability of our citizens to have access readily to wholesome and affordable products,” she stated.
Permanent Secretary Roudette- Baptist says the ease of enhancing foreign investment relations is cemented by the many similarities among these countries.
“The trading relationship among our islands are compounded by an economic partnership agreement which creates the legal platform for enhancing preferential trade. Beyond our traditional historic relations we have worked hard to secure this arrangements and this has to remain of primary importance to us. The Ministry of Trade and Commerce prides itself on data collection and collation and analysis wich guides our decision making process,” the PS explained.
Dominica has consistently maintained a good trading relationship with the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
“From the period 2016 to the first quarter of 2022 Dominica has imported 7.2 million worth of products from Martinique and 42.6 million from Guadeloupe,” PS Roudette-Baptist added.
From that same period of 2016 to the first quarter of 2022, the export value from Dominica to Guadeloupe stands at eighty-six thousand, eight hundred and eighty-six EC dollars, whereas the export value for Martinique is at forty-three thousand, one hundred and thirty-six EC dollars.
“We are extremely proud of our monthly container of passion fruit pulp moving from Dominica and Guadeloupe. This is in fact a good step in the right direction as it relates to sustainability of supply of a value added product. I commend DEXIA for this one and want to express gratitude to the Guadeloupe importer for the opportunity to supply them with the passion fruit pulp. Participants, note that our interest is not simply on trading goods; we also value the opportunity created by the economic partnership agreement for trading services, and for the opportunity among the islands to this agreement,” PS Roudette-Baptist further stated.
Vice President of the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC) Mr. Brenton Hilaire is pleased to welcome the French partners to Dominica.
“Your presence is an enormously important contribution towards expanding our bilateral commercial relationships. It is also important for strengthening the partnerships between our countries and building our economies. The Dominic Association of Industry and Commerce is pleased to be a partner in this endeavor to ensure valuable connections to potential business partners, customers and even creating friendships,” Mr. Hilaire stated.
Mr. Hilaire went on to market Dominica as the right place for business ventures.
“Dominica is ideal for doing business in the Eastern Caribbean as we are uniquely located between both countries and provide a ripe investment environment as we are developing key infrastructures such as our international airport and the geothermal plant. We have all been impacted by the coronavirus, however we believe that missions such as these and the connections that will be formed this week are mutually beneficial to combat the challenges of this pandemic,” Mr. Hilaire noted.
The Head of International Commission of Martinique Island Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Pablo Rosine is one the delegates on this mission.
“I am convinced that we have a lot to trade. Our intelligence, knowledge and experience to create win-win situations for successful business will help us to continue to grow together. We often tend to look at the United States and Europe when we can find what we are looking for next door. I see a lot of potential in Dominica for Martinique and Dominican companies can find potential in Martinique. I am particularly thinking about Agriculture, agro-processing, the fishing industry, but also ETC, solar powered materials and digital marketing,” Mr. Rosine stated.
Meantime, Elected Board Member of Guadeloupe Islands Chamber Of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Christopher Louis says Dominica has been a historic supplier for citrus fruits and vegetables to French Guadeloupe from since the 1970’s.
Honorary Consul, Mr. Herve Nizard also delivered remarks at the reception. He told the French partners that Dominica has a lot more to offer than simply being just a customer.
“Dominica is the best key for the door of the other OECS and CARICOM countries. Dominica is a neighbor between Dominica and Guadeloupe. Dominica is speaking Creole. Dominica has exactly the same roots as a lot of the French islands and I think we should probably take advantage of that and see more Dominicans as potential partners for developing trade with the CARICOM, with the OECS than just simply customers,” Mr. Nizard noted.
The IDA strategies will place a strong focus on attracting investment in manufacturing and agro-processing, organic agriculture, knowledge and digital sector as potential investment opportunities. Investment in eco-tourism accommodations and ancillary services will also be featured during the mission.