Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris' official visit to the Republic of China (Taiwan) from June 5-9 continues to bear fruit with his meeting with the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Republic of China (NASME) on June 8 in Taipei to discuss the possibility of Taiwan investment opportunities in St. Kitts and Nevis.
NASME was founded on July 17, 1972. Its members come from every field of industry in Taiwan, including manufacturing, service and retail industries. NASME has extended its service overseas, and has established cooperative economic and trade relations with 130 global organizations from 78 countries by signing memorandum of understanding (MOU).
Later this year, several business investors from Taiwan are expected to visit the federation to explore business interests.
In St. Kitts and Nevis, the government has given its support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the establishment of the Fresh Start Programme. To date, 38 million dollars in loans have been disbursed to close to 500 persons in support of starting up or financing their small to medium-sized business.
The Fresh Start Programme was made possible through the initial financial assistance provided by the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela's joint venture company through its Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) St. Kitts-Nevis Limited in 2015. The programme has been administered through the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Additionally, the Cabinet continues to approve concessions for a number of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Prime Minister Harris says that his government recognizes that SMEs are the engine of growth and that small businesses create up to 70 percent of jobs in economies.
"We are building a new entrepreneurial class through the disbursement of concessionary loans to operators of micro, small and medium sized businesses operating in the Federation. The initiative has already benefited young and industrious persons from both St. Kitts and Nevis who have started businesses in a range of areas including tourism, law, public transportation, fisheries, agriculture, retail and wholesale," Prime Minister Harris said.
In addition, Dr. Harris met with Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) with its chairman, James C.F. Huang, where the possibility of cooperation in the area of medical tourism was explored.
TAITRA, which is foremost a non-profit trade promotion organization in Taiwan, was founded in 1970 to help promote foreign trade. It assists Taiwan businesses and manufacturers with reinforcing their international competitiveness and in coping with the challenges they face in foreign markets.