An Electronic Trade Window: Belize’s way of fostering economic development
One of the criticisms of Belize is that starting a business and conducting trade are often tied up in a lot of red tape. This is one of the reasons why the country has a reputation that is very hard to do business in. But it appears that Belize is doing its part to not only change the stereotypes but doing away with that difficult reputation altogether. To attract trade opportunities, Belize is focusing efforts on what’s called an Electronic Trade Window. Since 2009, the country has been working with the Caribbean Development Bank and the Inter-American Committee on Ports to create this critical key and transport facilitation instrument. Since October, all the parties have been engaged in a nine-month process to finalize the technical, legal, and financial requirements to operate such a window. This morning at the launch, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Amalia Mai explained the importance of this.
Ambassador Amalia Mai, CEO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade: “A fully year has passed since the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and Belize like so many others in the world suffered a great setback, hundreds of people were affected, millions in fact so many others died but we know that we’re almost now post pandemic and so it is time to get back to our very busy busy agendas especially in relation to trade. You know that aside from the health sector trade suffered a lot with the lack of movement, with the closing of airports, with the closing of ports and so now we’re delayed a bit but take this challenge on front on to immerse ourselves into this single window. Today we’re seeing the launch of the national consultations for an ESW which really had as its genesis in 2022 when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade was designated a participant among the four participants in the CDB trade program. The trade facilitation agenda is a key part of the Government of Belize’s broad based strategy in building economic resilience.”
Also joining Belize in this effort is the Organisation of American States. Representative to Belize, Luiz Coimbra added that this is one way in which both the public and private sectors can advance socio-economic development goals in a competitive economy.
Luiz Coimbra, OAS Representative to Belize: “We are trying to share with the Government of Belize the opportunity to have just one window to deal with trade. The private sector, the government they don’t have duplicate documents or duplicate interactions with the government. Just one window is a project that the OAS has some experiencing implementing this in some other countries of the Americas, very successful project in a sense that it makes trade easier and as you can understand trade is an excellent tool for social development. In a sense that it’s easier for private sector, it’s easier for the government, it’s not only easier but cheaper to deal with you have much less hours of work to develop just one procedure event that’s needed for export and import. I mean in the sense that if you have less procedures, if you have less steps to do in order to do trade import or export this is going to be cheaper for the government, cheaper for the entrepreneurship, cheaper for the business people and it’s going to promote development.”