Business
BB | Dec 15, 2020

Barbados rakes close to $300 million in exports despite COVID

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

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Barbadian Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin. (Photo: Business Wire)

Barbados continues to fare better than many of its Caribbean neighbours as the country nears $300 million in exports, despite the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to International Business and Industry Minister, Ronald Toppin, the island’s earnings from certified exports cover the period between January and November.

Minister Toppin, speaking at the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation’s (BIDC) annual awards ceremony last Friday (December 11), called the feat a ‘worthy achievement’ given the circumstances.

The milestone—though putting the country within reach of its 2019 figures, which were calculated at $333 million—is still a far cry from Bajan projections of $1 billion in exports.

Toppin remarked that the coronavirus pandemic “shook every pillar of economic activity in Barbados”, pointing out the disruptions Barbados’ manufacturers faced in their supply chains along with contractions to their output and sales.

Despite the unprecedented challenges, the industry minister insisted that 2020 would not be a wasted year.

Barbados’ Industry Minister Ronald Toppin. (Photo: Ministry of International Business and Industry)

“Now, more than ever, it means that we must see the world as our marketplace. Though our path to achieving exports of $1 billion may have been hedged in by COVID-19, it is still our destination for the medium to long term. With several markets still going through periods of lockdowns, this is a big ask of our exporters—to double or even triple their exports,” he said.

Noting that things would have to be done differently, Minister Toppin recommended manufacturers find new niche markets; forging new business connections in unfamiliar locations; tapping into the diaspora like never before; and turning every crisis into an opportunity.

“It will call for an extraordinary effort from Team Barbados, but grit and sacrifice is not new to us. I am determined that 2020 will not be a wasted year, but a year when we saw the difficult things that have kept us back, as stepping stones for 2021. Whether it is capacity constraints, routes to markets, language barriers, access to finance, we are actively constructing solutions,” Minister Toppin emphasised.

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