Analytical tools launched to strengthen OECS Member States’ trade capabilities

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CASTRIES, St Lucia – The OECS Commission, in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC) configured two online trade analytical tools, that were launched virtually on Thursday, March 3, 2022. The tools were developed for the benefit of thousands of entrepreneurs, researchers, trade practitioners and policymakers across the OECS Member States.

The two tools, “Trade Map” and “Market Access Map”, are accessible via the OECS’ website and provide persons with access to trade and market intelligence data between the OECS Member States and over 220 countries in a relevant and efficient manner. The Trade Map tool provides international trade statistics and company data and presents indicators on export performance, international demand, alternative markets and the role of competitors from both the product and country perspective. The Market Access Map supports the needs of private companies and policymakers by enhancing market transparency and facilitating the analysis of trade-related policy issues, presenting a comprehensive perspective on the different types of barriers that affect international trade.

The rationale behind the provision of these tools stemmed from the demand for data and statistically-sound evidence to inform decision-making. Historically, the OECS has been identified as a region with a clear statistics deficit, and these limitations have impacted our image internationally as well as our ability to effectively participate in negotiations. This served as disadvantageous to the OECS Member States as we seek to penetrate global markets and seize potential opportunities.

Commenting on the configuration of the tools, Dr Didacus Jules, director-general of the OECS Commission, said:

“The rationale behind the creation of these tools was borne from the demand for data and statistically-sound evidence to inform decision-making. There is a statistics deficit in the OECS  region that we have been addressing. This deficit limits our potential as well as our international competitiveness. As we are addressing this shortfall, it is our hope that we can penetrate global markets and seize potential opportunities much easier than before.’’

The provision of these tools is aligned with the Commission’s aim to support and grow regional trade, promote competitiveness and to ensure that Member States keep pace with market and product opportunities. It is expected that through usage of the tools, both the public and private sectors will be better placed to develop effective trade expansion strategies that are responsive to the dynamics of the international market.

This initiative was made possible through the ACP TradeComII Programme which is an EU-funded project aimed at accelerating regional integration and promoting Sustainable Trade Capacity Building (STCB).

The Programme places emphasis on four pillars for deepening the OECS Economic Union. These are 1) Human Resource Capacity Building 2) a defined mechanism for private sector involvement in trade policy and decision making 3) a formalise trade policy committees at the national and regional level 4) a harmonized Trade Information and Facilitation Platform (TIFP).

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