Stern Calls for Greater Collaboration in Productive Sector


State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern, has called for greater collaboration among stakeholders in the productive sector, to give Jamaican-made products a competitive edge in the global marketplace.
Speaking at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) stakeholders’ forum to discuss its Jamaica-Made Mark programme, at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on February 12, Mr. Stern noted that the current trends in international trade required that Jamaican producers improved on the quality and standard of their products in order to be competitive in the global market.
“This is one of the most critical factors in achieving the competitiveness of our products. Whether we produce exclusively for the local market or are seeking to secure or maintain our market share abroad, we must develop and promote a positive reputation. Trade liberalization means that the Jamaican market is one in which goods, regardless of their origin, must compete,” the State Minister argued.
To this end, he cited the revival of the National Certification Programme as timely and commended the BSJ and other key stakeholders for undertaking this initiative.
“The Jamaica-Made Mark has now been redesigned and along with the Plant Certification Mark, will serve to indicate that processes and products are in conformity with national and international standards,” he pointed out. Mr. Stern noted that while not possessing the economies of scale or the strong brand recognition of its larger competitors, Jamaica had unique products such as pimento, ginger, coffee, condiments, and rum, which “have a strong presence in the international market.”
He added that, reinforced by cultural offerings such as music, fashion and craft, Jamaican products had an image which was “synonymous with the exotic,” a unique brand capturing international attention.
“It is no wonder that some companies, in rich and poor countries alike, are counterfeiting our products with inferior and substandard goods. The false claim of ‘Made in Jamaica’ is not only reaping market advantage by those who abuse our good name, but in many instances, is doing great harm to our reputation abroad. Not only is this unfair competition spoiling our image, but the consumer is often enticed into paying premium prices for non-genuine products,” the State Minister informed.
Describing this development as “untenable,” Mr. Stern underscored the need for collaboration between governmental and non-governmental organizations, both at the national and international levels, to effectively address the issue. “For its part, the government will increasingly seek to mandate and empower state agencies to become more pro-active and vigilant in the protection of our intellectual property,” he said.
The State Minister urged stakeholders in the productive sector to embrace and use the National Certification Mark programme, in particular the ‘Jamaica-Made’ mark to their advantage, which he said, would enable them to re-assure consumers of the authenticity of Jamaican made products.
“It will, we hope, significantly curtail counterfeiting and the devaluation of the reputation of genuine Jamaican-made products,” Mr. Stern said.

JIS Social