Industry, Investment, and Commerce Minister, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill (second left) listens to a comment from Group Export Manager, Wisynco Group Limited, Stephen Dawkins (second right), during the ‘Step Up Export with Trade Agreements’ seminar held on Tuesday (May 16) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in Kingston. Others sharing in the conversation (from left) are Trade Administrator/Chief Executive Officer, The Trade Board Limited, Dr. Hugh Blake; Chair, Trade Facilitation Board Sub-Committee of the Trade Board Limited, Daenia Ashpole and Minister of State in the Ministry, Hon. Norman Dunn.
Local businesses are being encouraged to utilise the various trade agreements that are available under preferential terms to boost earnings and increase exports for the country.
Industry, Investment, and Commerce Minister, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, in making the call, said that these agreements give local producers a competitive advantage in accessing regional and international markets.
“What I am encouraging you to do is make sure you understand… study these many trade agreements to grow our exports exponentially, increase employment and make Jamaica a wealthy country,” he said.
Senator Hill was addressing the Step-Up Export with Trade Agreements seminar held on Tuesday (May 16) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in Kingston.
Jamaica is a party to or beneficiary of arrangements, which enables local businesses to access international markets under preferential terms.
Among these is the CARIFORUM/European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which enables export of goods and services to the 28 countries of the EU. All goods from Jamaica enter the EU duty- and quota-free.
Other arrangements include the World Trade Organization (WTO) Most Favoured Nation (MFN), through which Jamaica’s exports have access to the markets of 160 members of the WTO; the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which allows goods from Jamaica to enter the markets of several developed countries under enhanced preferential tariff arrangements; The Commonwealth Caribbean/Canada (CARIBCAN) Trade agreement, which facilitates duty-free access to the Canadian market; and the CARICOM Single Market (CSM), which gives duty-free access to markets of 13 CARICOM member states.
Preferential access is also provided under the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) Duty-Free Access to the US market.
There are also CARICOM bilateral agreements that give Jamaica duty-free entry for a wide range of goods to markets in Venezuela, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Cuba, and the country is able to supply goods to Venezuela through specific terms and conditions under the PetroCaribe Trade compensation mechanism.
Minister Hill said the Trade Board Limited and the Ministry’s affiliated agencies are working to increase public awareness about the use and benefits of trade agreements, as well as to understand those factors that impact exporters’ ability to access or understand the information related to market entry requirements, or how to meet them.
“The lack of knowledge… negatively impacts our businesses’ chances of benefiting from preferential treatment and successfully engaging or shipping their products from Jamaica to overseas markets,” he pointed out.
He said that the Step-Up Export with Trade Agreements seminar serves as a public awareness tool that is intended to support export-led growth.
Organised by the Trade Board, the event aimed to highlight the results of a one-year project in which 100 exporters were trained.
The project explored the qualifying criteria under nine trade agreements as a means of increasing uptake of the benefits.
This will ultimately contribute to the volume of locally manufactured or produced items that are exported.
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The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is described as Jamaica's "Business Ministry." It's mandate is to lead the development of policies that will create growth and jobs, while achieving social inclusion and consumer protection. The Ministry, working its stakeholders is primarily responsible for business policy development, monitoring and evaluation, while giving direction and oversight to a cluster of implementing departments and agencies.
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