Belize is making great efforts to strengthen its international trade relations and attract new business to its shores. The focus is on both existing and new trade relationships.
The Belizean government undertook several country visits, meetings, and other engagements in order to strengthen its international ties with significant partners.
We outline the most recent and most important international trade relationships developing in Belize.
Overview: Belize international trade relations
Belize is focussed on furthering trade relationships with a number of key partners, including Mexico, Florida (US) and Taiwan.
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Trade relationship with Mexico in construction sector development
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development aims to strengthen Belize’s trade relations with Mexico regarding construction sector development. The 2 countries are progressing through a Building Sector Reform Project in partnership with the Belizean Economic Development Council. The goal of that project is to improve and modernize the business climate and sustainability of planning and developing within the Belizean construction sector.
As part of developing the Belize-Mexico trade relationship, a delegation from the Belizean government visited Merida City in Mexico for technical exchange. The delegation assembled with the Merida City Council and the Department of Urban Development. The purpose of this exchange was to strengthen the institutional capacity of key public agencies in the areas of building process administration. This also includes one-stop service booths, building sector regulatory frameworks and urban development and planning.
Merida City in Mexico is significantly leading the administration of the building sector, land-use planning, and urban planning and development in terms of environmental and social responsibility in Latin America. Furthermore, the city established a municipal single-window service, which substantially simplifies the administrative procedures of building permits.
The technical exchange offered a perfect opportunity for Belize’s delegation to expand its knowledge in:
- the application of land-use planning and management
- construction sector regulations and legal framework
- digital service and urban planning
In 2018, the trade between Mexico and Belize amounted to US$138 million.
Relationship with Florida in trade, investment and enterprise development
Belize maintains a longstanding commercial trade relationship with Florida aimed at boosting trade, investment and enterprise development.
Florida serves as Belize’s primary port and airlift getaway for its exports and travellers into the United States. According to Breaking Belize News, “many members of the Belizean diaspora also currently reside within the state presenting several opportunities for greater commercial, educational and other exchanges in development”.
On 3 March 2020, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) visited a Belize Business Mission in Florida, USA. The purpose of this mission was to assess key aspects of the partnership in trade and investment development with Florida. Other core objectives were the promotion of bilateral opportunities for market access and investment diversification.
As part of the visit, BELTRAIDE held meetings with:
- Florida’s Secretary of State, Laurel M. Lee
- Florida’s Lieutenant Governor, Jeanette Nuñez
- Secretary of Commerce and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Mr Jamal Sowell
The meetings discussed further bilateral trade and investment engagements between Belize and Florida, USA.
The US trade in goods with Belize amounted to US$336 million in 2019.
Belize signed a new trade agreement with Taiwan
Trade relations between Belize and Taiwan have always been strong. Yet, both countries target a reinforcement of their trade relationship.
In August 2019, the Belizean government and the Taiwanese government negotiated on a Partial Scope Agreement by signing a Letter of Intent. This type of agreement aims to formalize the trade relations between Belize and Taiwan.
The Partial Scope Agreement provides benefits to both parties, through the promotion of economic development in regard to investment and trade. Furthermore, the agreement involves a targeted agenda for cooperation with Taiwan in order to boost Belize’s capacity in key aspects of product development, food safety and standards.
According to the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Republic of China statistics, Taiwan’s bilateral trade with Belize was US$6.99 million in 2018, representing 13.09% growth compared to 2017.
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