The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The Saint Lucia Trade Ex­port Pro­mo­tion Agency (TEPA) and the Saint Lucia Coali­tion of Ser­vice In­dus­tries (SLCSI) have signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MOU). TEPA hails the sign­ing as ‘very strate­gic’ to the ef­fec­tive de­liv­ery of its man­date which is to pro­mote ex­ports of goods and ser­vices. Signed on Wed­nes­day De­cem­ber 2nd, the MOU serves to fur­ther ce­ment the col­lab­o­ra­tive re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two busi­ness fa­cil­i­ta­tion agen­cies. Specif­i­cally, it will al­low TEPA and the SLCSI to map out a joint ac­tion plan that en­ables them to lever­age syn­er­gies and be more tar­geted in the de­sign and ex­e­cu­tion of pro­grammes, and the pur­suit of op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The Coali­tion of Ser­vice In­dus­tries is the agency work­ing to or­ga­nize ser­vice pro­duc­ers on the is­land, and has some thir­teen ser­vice sec­tor group­ings un­der its um­brella, in­clu­sive of man­age­ment and travel con­sul­tants, en­gi­neers, ICT, health and well­ness, ar­chi­tects, cre­ative pro­duc­ers, real­tors, garage pro­pri­etors, car rental, florists and bankers.

TEPA CEO Jacqueline Em­manuel Flood says this ex­ten­sive reach within the ser­vices sec­tor makes the agen­cies ‘nat­u­ral part­ners’ and pro­vides the ra­tio­nale for SLCSI’s seat on the Na­tional Ex­port Coun­cil which is the over­sight body for TEPA. “Now we are tak­ing this at the prac­ti­cal level, where we are ac­tu­ally work­ing to fuse, to in­te­grate bet­ter in terms of our projects and pro­grammes on the ground,” she ex­plained.

Yvonne Agard, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the SLCSI de­scribes the for­mal­iza­tion of the MOU as timely, com­ing on the heels of the SLCSI ap­proval for fund­ing un­der the CSME Standby Fa­cil­ity ad­min­is­tered through the Caribbean De­vel­op­ment Bank. The fund­ing will al­low the agency to un­der­take three sets of ini­tia­tives, namely a busi­ness sup­port unit to pro­vide tech­ni­cal sup­port to ser­vice providers with the po­ten­tial to ex­port, a call-down fa­cil­ity that en­ables the agency to pro­vide direct fund­ing as­sis­tance to firms, while the third com­po­nent is for in­sti­tu­tional strength­en­ing. “So we are get­ting a project of­fi­cer and in­tern as­signed to this pro­gramme area. One of the ar­eas in which this will also be achieved is in SLCSI’s abil­ity to in­ter­pret trade pol­icy into op­por­tu­nity for ser­vice providers”.

The MOU equips the SLCSI to play a more in­te­gral role in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the joint var­i­ous ac­tion plans aimed at deep­en­ing of trade be­tween Saint Lucia and other re­gional and in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. Th­ese ac­tion plans are a direct re­sult of sim­i­lar agree­ments for­mal­ized be­tween TEPA and PRO Cuba - the trade pro­mo­tion agency of Cuba, and the trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion of­fice of Canada (TFO). The draft­ing of yet an­other MOU be­tween TEPA and the Bar­ba­dos In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (BIDC) is also cur­rently in progress.

TEPA’s CEO in­di­cated that go­ing for­ward, the agency pro­poses to use the MOU mech­a­nism with other agen­cies be­cause it is a re­sults-ori­ented frame­work that “clearly sets the pa­ram­e­ters for col­lab­o­ra­tion on a num­ber of spe­cific ac­tions, is ex­tremely ef­fec­tive, ex­tremely fo­cused and there is al­ways a re­sult at the end.”

TEPA CEO Jacqueline Em­manuel Flood and Yvonne Agard, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the SLCSI signs MOU.

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