On Wednesday this week, the Department of Commerce hosted a consultative forum with potential Taiwanese investors. The initiative was held at the Bay Gardens Hotel’s Bougainvillea Conference Room, and was sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
“This forum is very important as the government of Saint Lucia strives to encourage private sector growth and development,” Nancy Francis, Director of Investment Coordination told the gathering.
Seven individuals from Taiwan were part of the delegation, and their presence in Saint Lucia signalled their interest in beginning consultations with local authorities and businesses in an effort to build networks for the purposes of embarking on joint ventures, or the establishment of their own businesses in Saint Lucia.
“Networking provides opportunities for businessmen and women to make meaningful connections to grow their businesses and seek advice from entrepreneurs on varied business issues and to form alliances and other business collaborations,” Francis stated.
Business sectors represented at this week’s engagement included manufacturing, consumer electronics, agro-processing and textiles. Minister in the Department of Commerce, International Trade, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer affairs Bradley Felix, in his opening remarks, stated that while the contribution of the tourism industry to Saint Lucia was to be appreciated, “one of the things we must never do is place all of our eggs in one basket”.
He also mentioned the diversity Taiwan brings to Saint Lucia and expressed hopes that ‘strong networks’ would be developed within Saint Lucia’s business community.
“The Republic of China (Taiwan) has always been a very good friend to Saint Lucia,” the minister said. “I am very, very happy here in terms of plans of collaboration with Saint Lucia.”
Taiwanese Ambassador to Saint Lucia, His Excellency Douglas Shen, affirmed that the opportunity was a significant one for both Taiwanese and Saint Lucian business people to share experiences. He also declared during his brief remarks that Taiwan is proud of small-medium (successful) enterprises all around the world.
In addition to that, the Ambassador of Foreign Affairs in the Republic of China (Taiwan), His Excellency George Lee, assured that Taiwan is the ideal partner for Saint Lucia. And, with the introduction of the inaugural joint venture business partnership of two private sectors, the Foreign Affairs Ambassador believes it will be a successful venture.
“Its success will encourage more business people from Taiwan to work with Saint Lucians and form more joint ventures and realise the full potential in our investments and industrial enterprise,” he said.
In a short interview with His Excellency Douglas Shen, the Ambassador stated that there is no particular focus on the type of business, “just as long as it’s a business and it can make money”.
“We welcome each and every different business and we’d like to offer any kind of good relation,” Shen echoed.
The Ambassador also hinted at the first investment which was soon to begin: a factory producing local juice, dried fruit, chocolate, and other items. “I think the south is beautiful,” he said. “It’s a very good beginning to start a new relationship.”