Services an Untapped Growth Sector – Betton-Nayo

Photo: Donald De La Haye Head of the Trade Agreements Implementation Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Symone Betton-Nayo, addresses the opening of a two-day National Workshop on Trade in Services at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in New Kingston on September 26.

Story Highlights

  • Head of the Trade Agreements Implementation Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Symone Betton-Nayo, says the services sector remains an untapped area that offers tremendous opportunity for Jamaica’s economic growth and development.
  • The service sector includes economic activities such as retail, banking, hospitality, entertainment, real estate, education, health, social work, recreation, media, communications, electricity, gas, water supply, among others.
  • Mrs. Betton-Nayo was delivering a speech on behalf of Undersecretary for Foreign Trade, Marcia Thomas, at the opening of a two-day National Workshop on Trade in Services at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (September 26).

Head of the Trade Agreements Implementation Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Symone Betton-Nayo, says the services sector remains an untapped area that offers tremendous opportunity for Jamaica’s economic growth and development.

The service sector includes economic activities such as retail, banking, hospitality, entertainment, real estate, education, health, social work, recreation, media, communications, electricity, gas, water supply, among others.

Mrs. Betton-Nayo said the sector continues to be a major contributor to employment and job creation, contributing to approximately 73 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.

“Despite this fact, the average annual growth of the sector over the past five years was a modest 0.4 per cent, which illustrates that there still remains tremendous untapped potential in the area of services,” she noted.

She said that under the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME), Jamaica has market access opportunities for services exporters that must be fully explored.

Mrs. Betton-Nayo was delivering a speech on behalf of Undersecretary for Foreign Trade, Marcia Thomas, at the opening of a two-day National Workshop on Trade in Services at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (September 26).

The workshop, organised by the Ministry, is aimed at raising awareness of the multilateral rules governing trade in services as well as the existing regional arrangements.

 

It is being attended by representatives from the Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Ministry; Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry; Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ); the private sector, among others.

The session will highlight industries that Jamaica has liberalised through various agreements, and identify those industries that have not been liberalised and the opportunities that exist in external markets.

The objective is to enable the country to develop and regulate its services sector in order to tap into the potential growth areas.

Mrs. Betton-Nayo, who spoke to JIS News after her presentation, said the workshop will allow participants to better understand some of the rules and barriers to trade in services in external markets and ways in which these can be addressed.

She pointed out that invisible regulations or barriers, which include visa requirements, economic needs tests and residency requirements, are of “major concern”, as they can nullify market access.

Mrs. Betton-Nayo said Jamaica has a keen interest in Mode 4 of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), of which the nation is a signatory.

Mode 4 of the GATS refers to the presence of one WTO member in the territory of another for the purpose of providing a service.

“It is one of the areas of services trade that is of strong importance to Jamaica, because it is in this area that we make our money, especially in the offering of entertainment services. Our artists, musicians, even our athletes, provide services, and so we have to understand the rules governing the trade,” she pointed out.

The workshop will include sessions on scheduling exercises, a case study on Jamaica’s services commitments, European Union services commitments under the EPA as well as opportunities for Jamaica.

Funding for the workshop was provided by the Commonwealth Secretariat Hub and Spokes Programme, with expertise from the WTO Secretariat, CARICOM Secretariat and the EU Delegation in Barbados.

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