In 1981, a local furniture exposition called "Expo '81" was staged during "Industry Week". The Association's attempt to host this exhibition was so successful that plans were made for it to become an annual event. The project has evolved into the BMA's annual trade show called BMEX (the Barbados Manufacturers' Exhibition), the first of which was officially held in 1982. It was raised to the level of an international fair in 1997.

BMEX was conceptualised as an exposition to showcase the finest products made in Barbados, with its main objectives being:
      • To increase consumer awareness of the quality, variety and availability of locally manufactured goods.
      • To keep local buyers updated as to what can be offered and hence what they should not have to import
        (familiarly known as import substitution)
      • And to encourage extra-regional business partners and overseas buyers to place orders with local
        manufacturers for export.

The trade show initially made its home at Terminal Two, at the Grantley Adams International Airport from its inception until 1996 when, due to the impending demolition of Terminal Two, it was relocated to the Sherbourne Conference Centre. Much like a homeowner moving into an upscale neighbourhood, BMEX looked to upgrade its range and standard. With that in mind, the move to Sherbourne heralded the year that BMEX became an international trade fair.

Over the years BMEX' has hosted the participation of both CARICOM and NON-CARICOM countries such as Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent, Suriname, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, the United States and The People's Republic of China.

The objectives have broadened somewhat over the years and are now listed as:
      • To display and promote locally manufactured goods and services
      • To sensitize consumers to the range and quality of locally manufactured goods
      • To further develop and foster trading relationships between manufacturers/exporters and consumers
        worldwide with special emphasis on CARIFORUM member states, Venezuela, and other South and
        Central American countries
      • And to facilitate the exchange of views and information leading to the formation of joint ventures.

In 2006, through the assistance of the BIDC and its Special Technical Assistance Fund, BMEX was radically revamped to offer three main pavilions, Food, Fashion and Furniture and given a new look. (Note that the assistance from the Special Technical Assistance Fund allows small and medium producers the opportunity to afford to participate at reduced fees).

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