Martinique And Guadeloupe Conduct Export Mission To Saint Lucia In OECS Integration Exercise

(OECS) — As Guadeloupe and Martinique continue to strengthen their integration into the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), their Chambers of Commerce organised a common export mission with 18 companies from the two islands as they seek business opportunities and expansion into Saint Lucia.

The delegation from Guadeloupe and Martinique includes entrepreneurs and official representatives along with technical officers from both Chambers of Commerce.

The mission was launched on Monday, February 26, 2024 at the Alliance Française pyramid in Pointe Seraphine with the participation of officials from the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, the French Embassy to the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados, the Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property, and Invest Saint Lucia. The OECS Commission was represented by officers from the Competitive Business; International Relations; and Development Cooperation and Resource Mobilization Units.

Accompanying the delegation were officials of the CARO centre (Centre d’Arbitrage Régional OHADAC/OHADAC Regional Arbitration Center) based in Guadeloupe which provides services of mediation, arbitration, and alternative modes of conflict solutions in legal proceedings. The CARO centre conducted a workshop on the legal aspects of investment in Saint Lucia with President of the Board Sir Dennis Byron; Secretary General, Mrs. Marie-Camille Pitton and Mr. Keats Compton in preparation for the delegation’s week of business meetings.

His Excellency Francis Etienne, the French Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados residing in Saint Lucia, highlighted to the audience the macroeconomic landscape influencing trade between the Eastern Caribbean islands and Saint Lucia. He stated that less than 3% of the combined exports from Martinique and Guadeloupe head to Saint Lucia, and likewise, less than 1% of goods imported to these islands originate from Saint Lucia. If the numbers are indeed largely deceiving, His Excellency recalled to the audience,

“The potential for improvement is infinite…Anything we can do to support business is necessary but more importantly, essential.”

Mrs. Christelle Boucard, president of the International Business Commission at the Guadeloupe Chamber of Commerce noted the

“increasing interest of Guadeloupean companies for their Caribbean neighbours, not only on the cultural side but also from a business point of view”.

She highlighted the role of the Guadeloupe Chamber of Commerce to bring its

“support, its expertise and its financial means to these exchanges because over the years to come, we must strengthen our partnerships with Saint Lucia, our neighbor of only 220 miles.”

The president of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Brian Louisy, highlighted the importance of strengthening the partnerships between Saint Lucian businesses and their French counterparts and reaffirmed the Chamber’s continued support to such initiatives. This commitment was reinforced by Pablo Rosine, a board member of the Martinique Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Two entrepreneurs from Guadeloupe and Martinique, Mahité Perrault and Prisca Meril, were invited to present their businesses (REZO – Serenity Islands and Le Réveil Gourmand respectively). They both took the opportunity to highlight the importance of business partnerships across the region and how activities such as the common export mission can increase interest in entrepreneurship.

The common export mission launch was followed by a networking session and the schedule of activities continues until Friday March 1, 2024.

On Tuesday, February 27 the delegation had an engagement with Invest Saint Lucia regarding the country’s current business landscape. After the conference, a series of business-to-business (B2B) meetings were scheduled with pre-identified potential partners in Saint Lucia.

On Wednesday, February 28, His Excellency Mr. Francis Etienne hosted a reception for the cohort of entrepreneurs, and on Thursday, February 29, the cohort explore the island and engage in site visits.