The Antigua and Barbuda – United Kingdom Business Forum now underway in London and Leicester.
The second annual event began on 6th November and concludes on 11th November.
During the week-long event, Antigua and Barbuda-based businesses are able to explore trade and investment opportunities in the UK market.
The World Travel Market, one of the world’s largest global travel and tourism events, also provides an excellent opportunity for local service and goods providers to showcase their offerings to an international audience.
Tuesday marked the first official day of the forum which was opened with a welcome from High Commissioner Karen-Mae Hill.
High Commissioner Hill thanked the exhibiting companies for their vision and courage to enter new markets.
She highlighted the opportunities the forum will provide, including specially arranged private Business-to-Business meetings with potential business interests, networking events and technical information sessions on accessing the UK market.
Her Excellency Lindsy Thompson, Resident British Commissioner in St. Johns also delivered remarks at the opening ceremony.
She addressed the considerable effort invested by the Antigua and Barbuda High Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Immigration in organising the initiative.
High Commissioner Thompson noted that the total trade revenue generated between the UK and Antigua and Barbuda exceeded EC$1 billion in the fiscal year ending June 2022.
With this success, both nations have confirmed their desire to grow the market.
During the first day of full engagements, the exhibitors had the opportunity to listen to informative presentations and engage in round-table discussions with key stakeholders in the UK government and private sector.
Flora Robertson, from the Economic Partnership Agreements -Trade for Development team at the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office delivered a presentation on the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (the “EPA”).
The EPA is a comprehensive trade and development partnership designed to open up and enhance trade between the UK and Signatory CARIFORUM States.
In the presentation the exhibitors learned about the preferential access that Antigua and Barbuda enjoys with the UK in goods and services, about the rules of origin stipulations and sanitary and phytosanitary measures that are necessary for their products to be allowed entry into the United Kingdom.
They also had the opportunity to ask questions or raise concerns about exporting to the United Kingdom.
The interactive roundtable sessions continued throughout the first half of the day where there were also presentations scheduled from David Marston and Alex Phillippidis, directors of Category Wins, a business management consultancy.
David and Alex provided producers with full insight into UK market trends and category specific insight which better positions them to sell their products to potential customers in the UK.
This presentation was followed by private meetings with each exhibitor. The final scheduled presentation of the day was by Andy Thorne, the CEO of the British shipping company, Kestrel.
In the second half of the day, the exhibitors displayed their products at the World Travel Market at the ExCel Centre in London. The World Travel Market attracts some of the world’s biggest companies in the travel and leisure industry.
Here, they had a chance to network and provide samples to a wide variety of UK and International businesses – from local niche stores to large multinationals and conglomerates.
On Wednesday there were a series of Business-to-Business meetings for the exhibitors as well as a consumer expo, book launch and film screening in partnership with the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.
Grannie Annie Pepper Sauce, Neem Avenue, Crispa Chips, Shell Beach Sea Food Company, Sarafina Savoury Caribbean Pudding, 2SIX8 Craft Brewery, Antigua Distillery Ltd., Miss Ellie’s Stuffed Dumplings and BWC Enterprises are the local companies represented at the forum.
The annual business forum is the result of a public-private partnership involving several Antiguan and Barbudan and United Kingdom agencies including the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the law firm Georgiev, Todorov & Company., the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, the UK Department for International Trade, Caribbean Export, the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.