Curacao’s National Export Strategy

Sector Director Vanessa Toré has high expectations. With the slogan “Unleashing the Export Potential of Curaçao”, the Ministry of Economic Development of Curaçao (MEO) started its awareness program for the creation of a home-grown national export strategy in May 2018.

For this ambitious task, the Ministry received support from the International Trade Center in Geneva. Curaçao is now well on its way to finalizing the contours of this strategy and implementing the Strategic Trade Development Roadmap for 2020 – 2024. Vanessa Toré who is the Sector Director of the Division of Foreign Economic Cooperation of the Ministry, explains the need for developing this strategy and the expectations.

The central focus of the National Export Strategy (NES) is to improve the living standard of the people of Curaçao through enhanced export performance. More export means more foreign exchange income, which has now become more critical than ever before. The Strategic Trade Development Roadmap is an assessment of the challenges and opportunities facing the island and presents a vision for the country’s future. 

The roadmap identifies a lack of economic diversification and resilience as two central weaknesses. These are the same weaknesses that are reducing Curaçao’s ability to respond to the COVID-crisis. The guide offers suggestions to improve the economic diversification and to strengthen the ability to bounce back. 

“Technology is considered the heart of the NES. Especially digital tools should bolster Curaçao’s economic activities”, says Vanessa Toré. The dynamic Sector Director is passionate about this mission and has her department focused on realizing the Ministry’s foreign economic policy. Following the guideline of the roadmap, Curaçao will push six priority sectors and four trade support functions. These will later benefit all firms and exporters within the economy.  

The priority sectors are Tourism, Creative Industries, Education Services, Financial Services, IT Services and Port and Maritime Services. MEO encourages current and potential exporters to start and enhance their entrepreneurial capabilities through innovation and collaboration. This makes sense considering the impact that this can have on their exporting possibilities. Doing business internationally can have many positive effects for local businesses besides increasing their sales.

The international exposure will bring the company in contact with new customers and new business environments. This can create an ideal opportunity to acquire new business skills increase their network and tap into new funding options. The government realizes that getting out of the local comfort zone and doing business internationally includes threats. That is why the Ministry has determined actions for the short-, medium- and long term to support new and existing exporters. Besides developing the national export strategy policy, these range from offering export consulting services to the companies and realizing trade agreements with other countries. 

These are some of the activities that Curaçao’s government is undertaking to create an export-driven economic development and inspire new and future entrepreneurs to focus their vision beyond local borders.