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Local Handicraft on Showcase Abroad

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Contact: Julita Peter

Monday, June 20, 2005 - St. Lucian producers of arts and craft along with fashion designers will get an opportunity to showcase their products, at the Caribbean Gift and Craft Show in Barbados from September 22nd to the 25th. Organized by the Caribbean Export Development Agency-Carib Export, the show seeks to exploit the potential of the handicraft, gift and fashion industries and the potential linkages with other sectors.

St. Lucia was the venue for the third leg in a series of preparatory launches on June 14th, leading up to the September show. This year’s show carries two sub themes, “CSME, and CWC 2007-a stage for creativity and innovation in the region.” Caribbean export recognizes that both these events will present new business opportunities for the region’s small and medium enterprises.

Show manager Ms. Maureen Pollard said as Caribbean territories seek to position themselves as strong contenders in the global marketplace, it is essential that new alliances are formed.

“Two significant achievements which will clearly indicate that Caribbean integration is finally evolving will be the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and the hosting of Cricket World Cup 2007. Both these initiatives will see the region uniting and synergies resulting with us sending a clear signal to the rest of the world that the Caribbean is indeed ready to compete,” She added.

In 2004 the global craft and gift sector was estimated to have generated well over US$300 billion dollars in business. Export orders generated at the Caribbean Gift and Craft Show in 2003 and 2004 were in excess of US$6 million dollars.

The Government of Saint Lucia has supported the handicraft sector through the National Industrial Policy and the recently formulated National Export Strategy. The craft sector is important in the development of the tourism product a mainstay of the Saint Lucian economy.

The handicraft sector in St. Lucia directly impacts the lives of over 300 persons through full time and part-time employment. Although the sector is still much undeveloped, it generates revenue of approximately 6 million dollars annually.

According St. Lucia’s Director of Commerce Titus Preville, “So as far as we in St. Lucia are concerned we recognize the potential of the handicraft sector, and at the government level we are doing as much as is possible under the various constraints of finance and personnel etc. to help the manufacturing sector find its niche and rightful place.”

First Caribbean International Bank, is providing sponsorship for the 2005 Caribbean Gift and Craft Show, expected to see the involvement of 200 exhibitors, and 11, 000 visitors.

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