He was speaking during the Opening Ceremony of a workshop on enhancing the competitiveness of the professional services sector, Thursday morning (3rd May) at the St. Kitts Marriott Hotel.
He said although the sector is dominated by transport and travel in the Federation, there are, opportunities for the Federation to expand its trade in services in particular the fast-growing Professional Services Trade.
These, explained Harris are classified in the Services Sectoral Classification list under Business Services by the World Trade Organization (WTO). This sub-sector is wide ranging and heterogeneous. Although the characteristics differ from one sub-sector to another (e.g. architecture, engineering, and accounting), they form an economically important group of services that is experiencing dynamic growth in most countries around the world.
Most countries recognize the role of professional services as an important contributor for economic development, and prospects for further growth in this sector are considered to be strong. The types of service providers range from large multinational corporations to regional or local operators. While accounting firms are dominated by multinationals, architectural and engineering firms have tended to be regional or local.
Regardless of corporate size or global scope all professional service providers are considered to be high value-added services.
According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Global Trade in Services was valued at over US$3. Trillion in 2009 and growth is estimated at 9% annually. Professional Services which are commonly referred to as “other commercial services” account for over 51% whilst transport and travel account for the other 49%. In general, services account for over 70% of global production and employment.
In light of the expanding importance of the services sector to the economic development of the Federation, The Ministry of International Trade has sought assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat to help improve the competitiveness of Professional Services (ICT, education, financial, engineering and architecture etc) in St. Kitts and Nevis. The workshop is one of the activities highlighting the positive actions being taken to enhance the local services sector.
It is designed to build capacity and capability within the professional services sector and involves stakeholders from the public and private sector, as well as regional institutions and local professional associations.