State Minister Lauds Service Sector But Raises Concern About Jamaica’s Trade Deficit


State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Delano Franklyn has raised concerns about Jamaica’s inability to match its imports with exports of goods and services. He pointed out that it was the service sector that had made the island’s merchandise trade performance bearable.
“In 2002 our trade deficit was US$2.5 billion, in short, we sold US$1.1 billion in exports and bought US$3.6 billion. What that means is that if the country is left to rely only on trade in goods we would be in dire straits,” he said.
He was addressing the opening ceremony of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 2003 Expo and Trade Fair on Friday (October 17) at the Cruise Ship Terminal, in the Montego Freeport.
The State Minister emphasised that this situation underlined the importance of services, which accounted for over 68 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year.
He stressed that the tourism sector and remittances pulled in some US$2.3 billion into the country coffers.
“That is why the government is paying very special attention to negotiations in the area of services.
In these negotiations we are seeking to ensure that we open up opportunities for our skilled professionals. While doing so, we are ensuring that where necessary, we safeguard our local service providers and sectors, and that we facilitate the movement of our nationals in order to provide services and skills in other markets,” he said.
Mr. Franklyn called for national involvement in the various trade negotiations that were taking place, to which many persons previously paid little or no attention, leaving everything to ministers of government and technocrats.
“For better or for worse that luxury is no longer yours. The march of globalisation has locked us all in its step, and this agenda is as much the agenda of the small businessman, the farmer, the hotel receptionist, the lawyer, the bus driver as it is the concern of ministers and other public servants,” he stressed.
He said that Jamaica was on target to meet its December 2004 goal for completion of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) agreement.

JIS Social