Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks has told members of the business sector in New Jersey, that Jamaica is ready and open for business, with a wide range of opportunities for investment.
Addressing the business leaders at the Rutgers University Law Centre on November 19, the Ambassador said there is a favourable macro-economic climate that is conducive to the stimulation of the productive sector, the crippling effect of high domestic debt has been alleviated, and there are many fertile opportunities for investment.
She pointed to the revitalisation of downtown Kingston, which presents a vast opportunity for public-private partnerships.
“The city faces a complex set of interconnected challenges. An important component of urban renewal is providing economic opportunity, whereby promoting private sector-led growth is an integral part of the solution,” the Ambassador said.
Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks outlines investment opportunities in Jamaica to a group of business-persons in New Jersey, at the Rutgers University Law Centre, on November 19.
“Urban renewal can be facilitated through business investment, job creation, and infrastructural upgrades. Therefore, I am working to attract investments into key sectors that will anchor this effort, including tourism, transportation infrastructure, to include shipping and small and medium sized enterprises,” she added.
The Ambassador cited several investment projects that are either underway or in the finals stages of planning, including the construction of the Falmouth cruise ship terminal at a cost of US$220 million, the Harmony Cove Casino and Hotel development amounting to US$1.5 billion, conversion to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), which ultimately will reduce costs to the consumer by 30 per cent; the rehabilitation of the Palisadoes shoreline at a cost of US$56 million, and the Kingston re-development project, at a cost of US$2.5 billion.
She noted that there are also developments at the regional level, which will have a bearing on the investment and business climate of Jamaica, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), which is designed to promote competitive production of goods and services for both intra and extra-regional trade and is intended to be an effective platform for dynamic trade and economic interface with the rest of the world.
“By pooling resources and improving the competitive production of goods and services, the objective is to assist Caribbean countries individually and collectively to adjust to more liberal international trade and investment arrangements. The CSME offers a tremendous advantage to investors – once presence is established in any country in the Caribbean, the investor would have immediate access to a market size of approximately 15 million people,” the Ambassador said.
In addition, she observed that Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean countries, plus the Dominican Republic, called CARIFORUM, recently negotiated an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU).
“This EPA is a reciprocal free trade agreement that is intended to provide improved, long-term and more secure market access for CARIFORUM countries into the EU on a reciprocal basis, with provisions for co-operation and development support for the Caribbean.
The Agreement presents greater opportunities for the region to penetrate the European market in niche areas, in order to maximise duty free and quota access. The opportunity is therefore presented for public and private sector synergies to be realised, in order to stimulate exports.
“Most importantly, the agreement offers the opportunity for investors to enter the European market through establishing joint ventures and physical presence in the region,” she explained.
Ambassador Marks, who was on an official two-day visit to New Jersey, called on the Jamaican born acting Mayor of Highland Park, New Jersey, Elsie Foster-Dublin. She also delivered the keynote address at the Jamaica American Bar Association awards function.
Over the past eight weeks, the Ambassador has visited Atlanta, Los Angeles, Hartford, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Virginia, meeting with members of various business communities, the Jamaican Diaspora and potential investors.