Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 29, 2020 (SKNIS)

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Jasmin Weekes, during the April 28 National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing, shared some key takeaways for a post COVID-19 world.She stated that there is a view that the US-China Trade Conflict will be prolonged even past COVID-19.

“With this in mind, we would want to encourage companies and businesses to look closer to home for their production as well as to value the benefit of having alternative sources. We would go even further to advocate for more self-reliance and self sufficiency as much as this is possible,” said Mrs. Weekes.
The permanent secretary said that the crisis has impacted the world including China, which points to the importance of having a clear and well understood disaster recovery and business continuity strategy in place.
“While resilience must be at the forefront of every strategy, it is agility that will ensure competitiveness and the ability to respond to the unexpected,” she said. “The truth is, a virus like COVID-19 can be as disruptive and destructive as any natural disaster.”
The Ministry of Trade strongly recommends that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) push the technology envelope forward to “nurture e-commerce for a post COVID war.”
“COVID-19 is changing the world into one that is increasingly reliant on technology and we are satisfied that this is the way to go,” she said.
Mrs. Weekes stated that of equal importance is the observation that there must be collective action and cooperation among governments as it relates to trade policy, which could lead to a result in lowering of tariffs on pharmaceuticals, medical devices, other services and other supplies.
“Such collaboration can also lend to the improvement in trade facilitation to reduce a cost of moving products and materials across borders at a quicker time,” said the permanent secretary.
The permanent secretary stated that the crisis will remove a lot of outdated practices, but some will remain.
“We always want to travel as Caribbean people, eat out, be entertained and to have experiences in person, but we must however begin to get in our minds that although this may be so, just don’t expect these activities to be unchanged or to be delivered at the same hours to which we have grown accustomed.”
Permanent Secretary Weekes said that even though the future beyond COVID-19 is unclear, it is clear that trade must continue as millions of lives depend on it.