The commissioner responsible for economic affairs, Frans Richardson, recently met with the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Small Business Development Foundation (SBDF), as part of information gathering sessions with major stakeholders.


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Chamber president Glen Carty and board member Arthur Bute represented the chamber and director Ludwig Quenniche represented the SBDF.

Commissioner Richardson was informed that the chamber is experiencing a significant reduction in the number of businesses being opened and that operating business establishments are reporting a reduction in activity due to the economic downturn.

Suggestions for structural short-term solutions, to be implemented in collaboration with government, include the protection of businesses, without introducing protectionism. The renewal of Philipsburg, especially Front street and Back Street was also offered as a good idea.

The stakeholders informed the commissioner of their views on the issue of quality versus quantity, considering that, according to stakeholders, the island has to make a choice of how it is perceived. Mentioned was the proliferation of counterfeit goods and the need for consumer protection.

Other recommendations entail rectifying the practice of parallel imports which create unfair competition and that all businesses must be required to have a crib number before a business license is granted.

Additional ideas offered were to limit the possibility of companies being retailers and wholesalers at the same time, to avoid monopolies and price manipulation, implementation of economic zoning and improving the communication between VOSEC and the chamber.