Com­merce Min­istry hosts Con­sul­ta­tive Fo­rum with Tai­wanese In­vestors

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michele-Lau­ren Hack­shaw

On Wed­nes­day this week, the Depart­ment of Com­merce hosted a con­sul­ta­tive fo­rum with po­ten­tial Tai­wanese in­vestors. The ini­tia­tive was held at the Bay Gar­dens Ho­tel’s Bougainvil­lea Con­fer­ence Room, and was spon­sored by the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs of the Repub­lic of China (Tai­wan).

“This fo­rum is very im­por­tant as the gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia strives to en­cour­age pri­vate sec­tor growth and de­vel­op­ment,” Nancy Fran­cis, Di­rec­tor of In­vest­ment Co­or­di­na­tion told the gath­er­ing.

Seven in­di­vid­u­als from Tai­wan were part of the del­e­ga­tion, and their pres­ence in Saint Lu­cia sig­nalled their in­ter­est in be­gin­ning con­sul­ta­tions with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and busi­nesses in an ef­fort to build net­works for the pur­poses of em­bark­ing on joint ven­tures, or the es­tab­lish­ment of their own busi­nesses in Saint Lu­cia.

“Net­work­ing pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness­men and women to make mean­ing­ful con­nec­tions to grow their busi­nesses and seek ad­vice from en­trepreneurs on var­ied busi­ness is­sues and to form al­liances and other busi­ness col­lab­o­ra­tions,” Fran­cis stated.

Busi­ness sec­tors rep­re­sented at this week’s en­gage­ment in­cluded man­u­fac­tur­ing, con­sumer elec­tron­ics, agro-pro­cess­ing and tex­tiles. Min­is­ter in the Depart­ment of Com­merce, In­ter­na­tional Trade, In­vest­ment, En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment and Con­sumer af­fairs Bradley Felix, in his open­ing re­marks, stated that while the con­tri­bu­tion of the tourism in­dus­try to Saint Lu­cia was to be ap­pre­ci­ated, “one of the things we must never do is place all of our eggs in one bas­ket”.

He also men­tioned the di­ver­sity Tai­wan brings to Saint Lu­cia and ex­pressed hopes that ‘strong net­works’ would be de­vel­oped within Saint Lu­cia’s busi­ness com­mu­nity.

“The Repub­lic of China (Tai­wan) has al­ways been a very good friend to Saint Lu­cia,” the min­is­ter said. “I am very, very happy here in terms of plans of col­lab­o­ra­tion with Saint Lu­cia.”

Tai­wanese Am­bas­sador to Saint Lu­cia, His Ex­cel­lency Dou­glas Shen, af­firmed that the op­por­tu­nity was a sig­nif­i­cant one for both Tai­wanese and Saint Lu­cian busi­ness peo­ple to share ex­pe­ri­ences. He also de­clared dur­ing his brief re­marks that Tai­wan is proud of small-medium (suc­cess­ful) en­ter­prises all around the world.

In ad­di­tion to that, the Am­bas­sador of For­eign Af­fairs in the Repub­lic of China (Tai­wan), His Ex­cel­lency Ge­orge Lee, as­sured that Tai­wan is the ideal part­ner for Saint Lu­cia. And, with the in­tro­duc­tion of the in­au­gu­ral joint ven­ture busi­ness part­ner­ship of two pri­vate sec­tors, the For­eign Af­fairs Am­bas­sador be­lieves it will be a suc­cess­ful ven­ture.

“Its suc­cess will en­cour­age more busi­ness peo­ple from Tai­wan to work with Saint Lu­cians and form more joint ven­tures and re­alise the full po­ten­tial in our in­vest­ments and in­dus­trial en­ter­prise,” he said.

In a short in­ter­view with His Ex­cel­lency Dou­glas Shen, the Am­bas­sador stated that there is no par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on the type of busi­ness, “just as long as it’s a busi­ness and it can make money”.

“We wel­come each and every dif­fer­ent busi­ness and we’d like to of­fer any kind of good re­la­tion,” Shen echoed.

The Am­bas­sador also hinted at the first in­vest­ment which was soon to be­gin: a fac­tory pro­duc­ing lo­cal juice, dried fruit, choco­late, and other items. “I think the south is beau­ti­ful,” he said. “It’s a very good be­gin­ning to start a new re­la­tion­ship.”

A del­e­ga­tion of Tai­wanese in­vestors con­nected with lo­cal busi­ness peo­ple at a con­sul­ta­tive fo­rum held this week.

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