Successful Meeting Between the 6 Chambers of Commerce of the Dutch Caribbean

Willemstad - Recently the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CoC) hosted a meeting with the other 5 Chamber of Commerce’s of the Dutch Kingdom under the umbrella of the ‘Association of the Dutch Caribbean Chambers of Commerce & Industry (ADCCCI). This successful meeting, which transpired on March 10th, in the auditorium of the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce, had representatives of the 6 islands of the Dutch Kingdom present.

The Curaçao Chamber of Commerce was represented by Mr. Marcos Cova, Mr. John Jacobs and Ms. Kirsten Römer, Aruba by Mrs. Sonja Velthuizen and Mr. Ernst Mohammed, Bonaire by Mr. Dick ter Burg, St. Maarten by Mr. Ansatacio Baker, Saba and Statia by Mr. Caryl Tear.

During this meeting, a new board was elected for ADCCI. Mr. Willem (Billy) Jonckheer of the Curaçao Chamber was elected President of the Association for a period of 2 years. Mr. John Jacobs (Chamber Curacao) was appointed as Secretary to the Association and Mr. Dick ter Burg from the Chamber of Bonaire as Treasurer.

The primary goal of this association is to create more and better cooperation among the Dutch islands but also to improve the economy on each one of these islands. COSME, a EU funded program, providing financing opportunities to SMEs (in particular young entrepreneurs with limited access to financing), formed part of the discussion. Other topics of discussion were:

How to improve the communication among the Dutch Chambers of Commerce on the islands.

To look into the possibilities and opportunities being offered by the financial institution Qredits, located in Aruba and whom caters to SMEs. 

A comparison was discussed as to the level of difficulty that exists when applying for a business permit/ license. Out of the discussions, it became apparent that Aruba and Curaçao tend to lead the way in ‘red tape’ in so forming a big obstacle to start up a company. 

Thoughts on the latest e-commerce developments and the set up of incubators to structure and guide new/ existing businesses were exchanged. 

It was discussed how to increase cruise tourism and get the maximum of out this sector as well as the importance for the chambers to attend the yearly Seatrade conference in the United States. 

The board was of the opinion that a good connection among the islands it of utmost importance for accessibility. Currently the aviation sector is going through a turbulent period affecting how business is conducted between and on the islands. The latter, led to a widely discussion of the possibility of a ferry service between the ABC islands. 

Last but not least, topics such as maintenance of the chambers business registries regarding non-active companies, improvement of services to their clients along with price and quality of products were discussed. 

The New Board of the Association agreed to work on the above-mentioned points in the upcoming months, to host a quarterly conference call amid the Dutch Chambers and to meet once a year in the country of the elected president.

Curaçao, March 24th 2017

Curaçao Chamber of Commerce (CoC)