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Barbados records significant rum trade with Europe

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Barbados has exported BDS$89.9 million (US$44.95 million) in rum products to the European Union over a four year period, Commerce Minister Donville Inniss has said. He said that the exports were for the period 2012-16 and that the industry continued to provide valuable foreign exchange and revenue; supported the sustainability and linkages of many other businesses within the agro-processing and tourism industries; and contributed significantly to job creation.Inniss, speaking at a reception and tasting of Authentic Caribbean Brands hosted by the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association Inc. (WIRSPA) said the objective of the initiative was two-fold: transitioning the industry's output of bulk rum to branded rum; and engaging stakeholders in a strategic partnership to expand the market share of the local brands in the hospitality sector.

Explaining that there were three components to the programme, Inniss noted that this would include a geographic indicator of Barbados' rums, supported by a Barbados Rum Marque, which would become a certifying seal of approval.

He said the other components included the repositioning of the industry to incrementally convert bulk rum to primarily branded rum; and embarking on an ongoing promotional campaign in the tourism sector to secure Barbados Rum Brands as a spirit of choice across hotels and bars.

“I am proud to say that this initiative has begun to bear fruit with the successful completion of the inaugural Barbados Sugar and Rum Season. This event was held during the period February 1 to April 1, 2017, under the auspices of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority.

“Its objective was geared towards enhancing the island's cultural heritage, particularly rum and sugar, and culinary tourism product offerings,” he added.

Outgoing WIRSPA chairman, Dr Frank Ward, who was also present at the function, said the outcome of the French elections could determine the future of the industry.

He said that should Marine Le Pen a far right politician wins it could have a damning effect on the rum industry.

“If there are any changes in Government in some of our major markets, that may also have an impact. The idea that France may pull out of the EU that could have a significant impact upon us . . . . So if the outcome of the French elections is such that it engenders a more protectionist outlook, that would not bode well for us as an export-oriented industry because then there may be barriers put up to us being able to trade. I'm not saying that it's going to happen but we always have to be thinking of various possibilities which will negatively impact upon us,” Ward added.

Le Pen faces political novice and centrist Emmanuel Macron in the run-off on Sunday.

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