BASSETERRE: St. Kitts & Nevis earned nearly EC$10 million from the export of electronic components to the United States in 2011.
Delivering his recent Budget Address, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, said earnings from the export of electronic components to the U.S. increased by 9.4 per cent, a total value of $91.7 million in 2011 when compared to 2010.
Dr. Douglas said two major manufacturers in the sector expanded their operations, thereby improving their capacity to meet the increasing demand. Douglas said this was evident in the increase in the value of exports, which was recorded at $108.2 million in 2012.
Douglas said the manufacturing sector continues to be impacted by the slow economic recovery in its major trading markets but is showing resilience in its enclave sector, which involves the assembly of electronic components.
A major employer in the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis, the manufacturing sector is continuing to maintain its cadre of highly-skilled employees and forego as much as possible the reduction of its workforce, despite the impact of the global recession on its markets.
“A long standing strategy deployed within the sector is simply to consistently produce high quality products, at reasonable prices, on time,” said Douglas. “In order to ensure the continued expansion of the sector, it is vital that we capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves in other burgeoning economies, as well as to improve the manner in which business is conducted on a daily basis.”
He said with the completion of negotiations for the Federation to accede to a Partial Scope Agreement (PSA) with Brazil and a slowdown in the economic growth rate in that economy, there remains potential for further expansion, thereby providing a viable market for consumption of St. Kitts & Nevis-manufactured products.
“Efforts to bring this agreement into fruition have continued and we expect that it will not be much longer before local manufacturers will benefit from improved access to the Brazilian market,” said Douglas. “The expected increase in exports as a result of this agreement will translate into growth in employment in the sector and industries that provide complementary services.”
However, Douglas said that the cost of energy has a profound impact on the capacity of local manufacturers to operate efficiently and expand their operations. As a result, government, through the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA), with the assistance of the Caribbean Development Fund (CDF), has taken the initiative to conduct a comprehensive energy audit of the sector under the Manufacturers’ Competitiveness for Energy Efficiency (MACEE) Project.
“This exercise will aid in identifying areas where the sector can improve energy efficiency through the reduction of leakages and wastage, and most importantly the incorporation of conservation, and renewable and energy efficient technologies,” said Douglas.