SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Representatives from the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) recently returned from attending the Caribbean Chambers of Commerce (CARICHAM)-BRICS+ Conference 2020 which took place in Suriname. Coordination for the conference was taken care by the Suriname Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The BRICS+ refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
On the first day of the two-day conference, there were two presentations. The first one was themed: “Access to Finance and Opportunities for CARICHAM Members.” Presentations were given by representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, and the Caribbean Development Bank.
The second presentation was themed: “Strengthen Business Relationship between CARICHAM and the BRICS+ countries.” Presentations were given by representatives of the BRICS as well as Indonesia with emphasis placed on doing business with the aforementioned countries.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to doing business in the Caribbean with several Caribbean Chambers of Commerce making presentations.
“This was a unique opportunity for St. Maarten to further profile our island as the Friendly Business Island. A theme that was recently launched in the Netherlands during a collaborative mission between COCI, the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications of St. Maarten and the St. Maarten Ministry Plenipotentiary in The Hague, the Netherlands.
“Our presentation geared to a project that was launched in 2018 by President Lint and Vice President Ortega in Suriname, where COCI introduced the need to strengthen ties with Caribbean countries and using St. Maarten as a hub within the network named The Business Ecosystem.
“It was then that St. Maarten and the Suriname Chamber signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together as described in the Ecosystem. The presentation to the delegation of primarily Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states and the BRICS Country representatives was well received, and many had shown further interest in working with St. Maarten,” President of the COCI Board Benjamin Ortega said on Sunday.
St. Maarten COCI became an official member of the CARICHAM Network in February 2020.
CARICHAM was officially launched on April 1, 2019 to promote cooperation and collaboration between its 19-members within the Caribbean Basin. The grouping also seeks to improve the levels of trade and investment within the region and between the region and other trading partners.
CARICHAM would represent the interest of the private sector on regional and international issues; facilitate capacity building opportunities for members and representatives of the Chambers of Commerce; identify and undertake training, and facilitate other cooperation programs that will benefit the membership of the Chambers, as well as the next generation of Caribbean business leaders; foster innovation and strategic collaboration among members to increase global competitiveness of industries; develop and share business-to-business market intelligence; share experiences and best practice in areas such as trade and investment, renewable energy/energy efficiency, disaster risk reduction and climate change; and finally add value as well as identify opportunities for the members of the respective Chambers.
The members of CARICHAM are Chambers of Commerce & Industry from the following countries: Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Guadeloupe and St. Maarten.
CARICHAM-BRICS+ Conference 2020 took place from February 27-28.