Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Oliver Joseph is boasting of an updated export strategy with an action plan aimed at reducing Grenada’s trade deficit and providing for further development.
Speaking at a sitting of the House of Representatives at the Trade Centre last Friday, Minister Joseph said the focus of the strategy will be to increase export using the various areas and sectors of the economy that have been identified to guide government in determining the right resources to be tackled.
He told Parliament that the high trade deficit cannot be addressed by government placing bans on imports but though the co-operation of citizens.
“We have a very, very high trade deficit and every year we continue to say that we must reduce the trade deficit but it is not government policy to ban any goods from coming into the country.
“In fact, we cannot do it under the trade agreement. So when people come to me and say you have too many vehicles in the country, why the government don’t ban it or you have too many products being competing… listen, this is demand and supply – if there is no demand for apples in Grenada, there’ll be no apples in Grenada because you’re not importing apples just for the sake of having apples on the shelf.
According to Minister Joseph, government has to get the message across to citizens to look at what they are consuming “and make a deliberate decision to substitute the imported products for locally produced products and that is how they can help. It cannot just be government putting ban or quota restrictions, it doesn’t work that way.”
The Trade Minister used the opportunity at the sitting of the lower house to appeal to citizens to support local as a means of playing their part in reducing the trade deficit.
“…Of course we will always be a net importing country because we manufacture very little (and) … our locally produced food are very healthy and if we can get our people to move in that direction it would help,” he said.
Minister Joseph noted that the updated export strategy has identified a number of areas to be worked upon especially in the area of export of services.
“We are not doing too badly in the area of services, largely because the St. George’s University (SGU) is based here. So educational services have contributed immensely to the GDP but there are a number of areas like the yachting sector that have been identified so that we can provide services, innovation, performing arts etc. All of these areas identified and the export strategy will be given full support by this government in terms of incentives for their further development,” he said.