October 2013

Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA) workshop


The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA) held its first workshop today, 22nd October, 2013, on the Internationalization of Agricultural SMEs in Belize.  


The workshop was geared at addressing the challenges faced by small and medium sized agricultural enterprises coupled with developing viable strategies to achieve these defined objectives in the long term.


SELA facilitated this process by acting as a catalyst conducting courses and workshops on the internationalization of SME’s, supported by experts from public and private organizations in several countries both regionally and internationally. In this manner, SELA performs the export promotion of micro and small enterprises in the agricultural sector and supports the growing industry.

  Continue reading “Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA) workshop”



Bridgetown, Barbados, October 18, 2013. The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) officially launched the Belize National Trade Information Network (N-TIN) at the Radisson Hotel, Belize on Friday, October 11, 2013.


Belize is one of six countries identified in a region wide scan of the trade support institution landscape as being in the position to move ahead with the establishment of a National Trade Information Network (N-TIN). The other countries include Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, Barbados,  Suriname, and Jamaica. Over the past year the Agency has conducted a series of workshops and consultative meetings with the selected countries to introduce the approach and methodology that will be undertaken in the formation of the N-TINs. According to David Gomez, Manager for Trade and Export Development at Caribbean Export, “the N-TINs are central to the delivery of enhanced trade information services and will contribute to the establishment of mechanisms at the regional level for similar services delivery…the process involves both data collection and compilation and identification of services that respond to the trade information needs of CARIFORUM exporters and the wider private sector.”


The National Trade Information Network is a collaboration between trade and business support institutions of the named countries who have committed to develop quality trade information within their respective country, required to support the development of a regional trade information system managed and implemented by Caribbean Export. The N-TINs will provide high quality, relevant and timely information on services trade, trade and economic statistics, market and sector briefs, tariff and non-tariff data, directory of businesses (exporter/buyers), links to important intermediaries e.g. Trade Promotion Organisation and Government agencies, and the structure and export performance of national economies within the CARIFORUM region.  Accurate information of this nature is critical to any private sector business that is looking to export.


Participation of members in the network will be governed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  which outlines the areas and modalities for the network members as it relates to the collection and dissemination of trade information.


Working for a Positive Change – BBS Technical Committees

The Bureau wishes to thank the experts that are currently engaged in national standards development work in the various technical committees below.

Kindly click on the link to view the present Technical Committees and the Belizean experts that are currently members of these committees.Working for a Positive Change – TCs Acknowledgement

Please contact the Bureau if you would like to know more about the work of the technical committees. As citizens of Belize, let us continue to contribute to our society by actively participating in the standards process. We welcome you to be a part of the process!!!

Creating a stir for competitiveness

Take a walk down any store or shopping center in Belize and one cannot help but to reflect on how the domestic market is bulging at the seams with imports. Foreign products line the aisles and greatly outnumber domestic products and it’s a strong indication that merchandise trade is alive and well for palates inebriated with the flavour of foreign lands, not to mention the importers who look for every opportunity to satisfy them. Understandably, businesses are driven by profit and remain ever so vigilant of those products that drive their bottom line. The domestic market twisted, turned, shaken or spun on its head is simply a reflection of a narrow and lacklustre manufacturing base that on occasion has sputtered very few successful domestic products.

Undoubtedly, these few products put up a good fight and from time to time rise to the occasion at home and abroad particularly at tradeshows where they are given the opportunity to be showcased as unique in the context of attracting visitors to our lands, but it’s hardly enough to turn the tables on the smother of imports. On the aggregate it is a fact that domestic demand cannot be met by local supply alone, it’s a reality that any developing country must face. I recall as a young lad, 10 or 11 years at most, foolhardy taking up this fight with a teenager in High School. Clearly I would be at a disadvantage not because he was older and bigger than me in size but rather he was already experiencing the nurtures of knowledge and wisdom that a higher education affords. Growing up at the door step of the Mexican border I argued that Belizean products were superior to those of mighty Mexico; imagine at this tender age, I was arguing on the basis of comparison as if I knew the dynamics of comparative advantage or competitiveness. I do not recall the reason for this argument nor do I recall on what grounds I stood or how I would come to this conclusion yet I blurted it out in stubborn fashion perhaps out of shear ignorance. The counter argument was one which rocked me from the grounds I stood upon but it is one that is deeply rooted in the reality that we come to face today; our food pantry was filled to the brim with Mexican products begging the question as to superiority. On a larger scale – traditional basic commodities considered – the Belizean food pantry remains a mirror reflection of this trend, with products from markets near and far.

Socioeconomics aside it signals that not much has changed in the market that we flock to on a daily basis. The growing dominance we see today stems from the ability to compete on price and quality and strong consumer preference triggered by a willingness to pay for absurdities in some instances. Belizean products as great as some are, continue to be out matched with the pendulum swinging in favour of imports. By no means do I, for reasons previously mentioned, suggest that the economy can be positively charged any time soon to dramatically bring this trend to a screeching halt. However, it is a reminder that Belize’s competitive spirit must be dusted from the doldrums and bootstrapped to pull the market into range. This it must do in plutonic fashion if it intends to create new opportunities for domestic production which I must say, with much candour continues to flat line. With Partial Scope Agreements in Central America, Mexico and to some extent Asia on the horizon, the Government of Belize is doing what it must to counterbalance the dictates of trade, which at flashpoint is combusting at a rapid rate towards the global economy. While the government takes aim at the market it is also ensuring positive change among institutions, particularly those that can provide the necessary spark for Belize’s competitive engine.

The Belize Bureau of Standards is one such institution that is gearing up to do just that, bringing positive change to the scenes for domestic production and by extension services as the institution would be aloof not to consider the importance of services to economic growth. Today the Bureau is currently working on a total of 49 standards majority of which are service sector related. This changing tide is an indication that public and private institutions are coming to recognize the importance of standardization as a key ingredient in turning the tables on trade in goods and services regardless of how challenging this may be. In retrospect, I could never imagine that the drive for a competitive Belize would have been ignited many years ago but I am all too happy and proud to serve in this capacity.

Consumer Watch Newsletter – Volume 5 Issue 2

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Dear Readers,

The Bureau presents the Volume 5 Issue 2 of its Consumer Watch Newsletter for 2013.

Please feel free to download, read and circulate with your colleagues, friends and family.

To download, kindly click on the link. Volume 5 Issue 2

Thank you!

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