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Volume No. 2 Issue No. 63 - Monday, December 29, 2008
National export strategy underway
By Sean Douglas

mathias lestrade
Gregoire Thomas DEXIA general manager.
As Dominica continues the process towards the formulation of a National Export Strategy for the country, General Manager of the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA), Mr. Gregoire Thomas has stated that given new global realities and challenges such a strategy is an imperative at this time.

Speaking at a two-day consultation on the design of the Strategy, an event which took place at the Garraway Hotel in Roseau on December 11 and 12, 2008, Mr. Thomas said: � Our economic situation demands that we make a paradigm shift in the way we treat exports and our economic development. We can no longer afford to react to every situation but must make deliberate decisions to face head-on our developmental imperatives.

�The National Export Strategy (NES) gives us an opportunity to correct the huge imbalance between our imports and exports. Traditionally agriculture which consists of banana and non-banana production represented the most important export sector but the situation has changed dramatically with the advent of globalisation and the liberalisation of markets.�

The DEXIA GM also highlighted some of the challenges facing one of Dominica�s key growth sectors, agriculture. These include low production, inconsistency of supply and issues related to the competitiveness of the product.

Mr. Thomas acknowledged that the �individual players or operators on their own do not have the capacity to address all the critical constraints and will require a team approach to allow agriculture to make a greater contribution to the economy and improve the livelihood of Dominican citizens�.

�The challenge before us is how we as a country can provide quality support to the key growth sectors of agriculture, tourism and manufacturing to contribute to the goals we have outlined in the Growth and Social Protection Strategy (GSPS),� Mr. Thomas stated.

Mr Thomas also outlined that the National Export Strategy will:
� Provide the tools to assist in prioritising on how we can use our limited resources to create the greatest impact on the agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors
� Provide a framework for the public and the private sector to work within a partnership to achieve mutually agreed objectives
� Demonstrate to key decision makers at the political level that investing in export development contributes directly to overall economic and social development.

The two-day consultation on the design of the National Export Strategy addressed perspectives and interventions with respect to competitiveness, business environment, market access and opportunities and their overall development impact. Preliminary sectoral strategies and weightings were also examined during the consultation.

Feedback from the consultation is now expected to inform the finalisation of a Draft Response Paper to form the basis for the design of the Export Strategy.

The process towards the formulation of a National Export Strategy for Dominica began earlier this year. A National Core Design team was established to move the process forward. At its first meeting on September 30, 2008, the National Core Design Team, drawn from a broad list of stakeholders agreed on a plan of action for the design of the export strategy.

The main objective of the two-day consultation was to validate the work undertaken so far and to continue the process of formulation of the national export strategy for improving the competitiveness of Dominica�s goods and services.

Addresses at the opening ceremony of the consultation also came from newly appointed Director of Trade, Dr. Eisenhower Douglas, representing the Minister for Trade, Dr. Colin McIntyre, Mr. Michael Norris, representing the National Authorising Officer of the European Development Fund and consultant from the International Trade Centre, Mr. Owen Skae.

The formulation of a National Export Strategy for Dominica is being spearheaded by the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA) with support from the Ministry of Trade and the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC).

The European Union, through the Office of the National Authorising Officer in Dominica, is funding a technical assistance consultancy to aid in the development of a National Export Strategy for Dominica. E-mail to a friend

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