By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
While Belize’s imports continue to exceed it seaports, causing an ever widening trade deficit, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, Mike Singh says that the figure does not accurately reflect Belize’s trading position.
Singh emphasized this week that because of the complexities of trade, an accurate picture cannot be obtained by looking at the SIB figures alone.
“The SIB data only reflects trade in respect to goods,” Singh said, “but what is happen in Belize is that the economy is making a shift towards services. Those figures will not show up in the SIB data.”
Singh continued by saying that in terms of revenue derived from services, Belize is doing considerably better than in goods; however the ministry doesn’t have the type of data necessary to quantify just how much services offsets the deficit caused by trading goods.
Singh added that there are many factors that affect the trade pin goods, including many sales with neighboring countries such as Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, which are written off as local sales, thereby skewing the figures.
According to SIB data, between 2011 to 2014, Belize’s exports have fallen from $680.9 million to $602.92 million. Simultaneously imports have risen from $1.6 Billion to over $2 billion.
The consistent fall in exports is attributed greatly to the falling production of crude oil.
The latest data issued from the SIB revealed that overall in January 2015 alone, the country’s exports were down some 23 percent.
The tourism sector, which represents the bulk of the advancement in the services industry, has seen steady increases in recent years.
In 2007, tourism contributing to over 25 percent of all jobs, and making up over 18 percent of the GDP. This constituted $590 million (US$295 million USD), according to the Government of Belize, the figure represented an increase of $90 million from the year before.
Since then tourism’s expansion has been constant, reaching over a million visitors in October 2014. However data on the earning is still not available.