Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill (right), converses with Conceptualiser of the Keys to LATAM Conference and Chief Executive Officer of Adtelligent, Craig Powe (left), during the event, held at Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (September 7).
Jamaican micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are being encouraged to tap into the Latin American (LATAM) market as they seek to expand their businesses.
Delivering the keynote address at the Keys to LATAM Conference held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (September 7), Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, said economic collaboration between Jamaica and Latin America has been limited.
“It is something that we have not really focused on and I need us to get a sharper, clearer focus on doing business with Latin America. With a focus on increasing exports from Jamaica to our Latin American counterparts, including the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica and Panama, a concerted effort must be made to build strong trade relationships and strengthen economic ties,” he said.
Senator Hill explained that the Ministry has been offering solid financial support to help businesses produce and export more of Jamaica’s goods and services.
He pointed out that 85 businesses are engaged under the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) Export Max Programme, which is geared towards developing a cluster of export-ready companies by enabling them to be competitively positioned to take advantage of international market opportunities and increase export earnings.
“That’s the only way we’re going to become a wealthy country. As we look at our low per-capita GDP (gross domestic product), we have to increase that. The only real way to do that is to export a lot more, and we have to expand our population by negotiating new markets… Go to LATAM and excel,” Senator Hill urged.
For his part, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, noted that the conference is poised to provide Jamaican industry professionals with insights into business opportunities in the lucrative Latin American market.
“Our shared history, cultural ties and geographical proximity provide a solid foundation for collaboration. Latin America is a region of immense economic potential and diversity. With a population of over 650 million people and a combined GDP of over US$5 trillion, it offers a wide range of opportunities for businesses seeking to expand their reach,” said Mr. Bartlett.
The conference was conceptualised by the Chief Executive Officer of Adtelligent, Craig Powe.
His vision is for Jamaicans to unlock the potential of the Latin American market, as there are four CARICOM trade agreements facilitating LATAM exports that are not being sufficiently utilised.
Citing the Dominican Republic, Mr. Powe noted that the country’s export to Jamaica was valued at US$115.66 million, while Jamaica exported US$2.7 million in goods and services in 2022.
He lauded the Dominican Republic’s Ambassador, Her Excellency Angie Martinez, for the critical role she played in increasing her country’s exports to Jamaica by 39 per cent in one year, noting that it is now Jamaica’s turn to do the same.
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