Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill.
Plans are in place to update and expand the Jamaica Trade Information Portal (JTIP), says Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill.
The upgrade will see the platform becoming more user-friendly and accessible in Spanish and French.
The portal provides access to information on cross-border activities for business owners and investors, in accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
“We’re looking to constantly upgrade the portal, and so we’re putting in new software to make it work better for everybody. The portal’s reach will be expanded to look at not just products but services as well,” Senator Hill said.
Addressing the recent JTIP sensitisation session for members of the Diplomatic Corps, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, downtown Kingston, the Minister argued that the upgrade will be beneficial to local businesses, potential international investment partners and the Government, as the portal will provide accessible information on all aspects of trading.
Senator Hill informed that the portal recorded 743 new users this year, which reflects 81 per cent of the total users for April.
“Since the 2019 launch of the portal, 50,890 persons have visited the portal with over 309,680 pages viewed. Though this is encouraging, more needs to be done to increase public awareness and international buying,” he said.
Against this backdrop, he urged members of the Diplomatic Corps to share with their home countries, investing and trading opportunities in Jamaica using JTIP.
“The publication of this information has assisted in identifying bottlenecks, which facilitates decisions to be made to allow the ease of doing business in our nation. We want to cut out those bottlenecks to make it easier for decisions to be made,” he said.
Meanwhile, Under Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Richard Brown, said, “We strongly believe that JTIP fully aligns with the urgent needs of the private sector.”
This, he noted, is significant, on the heels of the considerable economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and other global challenges.
“We have thus learned some hard lessons regarding the urgency of the need for greater sustainability in our external trade relations, as we witnessed Jamaica’s trade deficit quickly ballooning to US$6 billion in 2022, a new record for Jamaica,” Mr. Brown informed.
He pointed out that the Ministry recognises the importance of “transitioning to more efficient and seamless cross-border transactions”, to which JTIP is expected to increase the visibility and accessibility of Jamaica’s border regulatory requirements.
The event also marked the fourth anniversary of the portal being instituted to provide trade-related information.
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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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