Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson, says that as a small developing state, Jamaica requires increased production and exports, through new investments, to achieve robust economic growth and to reduce the country’s debt burden.
“A major priority for Jamaica must, therefore, be the production of goods and services for export, and making imports contribute to the production of value-added products,” he emphasised, while addressing members of the Diplomatic Corps at Jamaica House, on January 31, as part of activities to observe Diplomatic Week (January 29 to February 3) .
Senator Nicholson said that it is for this reason why trade has to be mainstreamed into national development planning. He noted that Jamaica’s foreign trade policy, which is now being revised, is integral to this process.
He further informed that in collaboration with stakeholders in the public and private sectors and civil society, a project commenced last September, with the assistance of the European Union, to review and revise Jamaica’s National Trade Policy.
“We expect this project to be completed by the end of March 2012. The trade policy is expected to position Jamaica to strengthen its domestic production base and, by extension, enable the country to improve its export performance. This will make a significant contribution to achieving the development objectives articulated in the National Development Plan -Vision 2030 Jamaica,” the Minister told the diplomats from around the world.
Vision 2030 Jamaica is the country’s first long-term national development plan, which aims at enabling Jamaica to achieve developed country status by 2030. It is based on a comprehensive vision: “Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business."
Senator Nicholson said Jamaica’s international competitiveness ranking is critical, and that capacity building programmes are essential developmental tools for building international competitiveness in countries, such as Jamaica.
He pointed out that with the support of the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the island’s National Aid for Trade Strategy has been formulated.
“This strategy will enable Jamaica to reap further benefits from Aid for Trade to address supply side constraints. We are now at the critical stage of implementation and need the continued support of our international development partners,” he said.
Between today (January 31) and Wednesday, February 1, the Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and her Cabinet Ministers will address some 63 resident and non-resident Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Charge d’Affaires.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry is staging its 14th Diplomatic Week, which includes the customary presentation of diplomatic credentials to the Governor-General or the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, by High Commissioners and Ambassadors who have been newly appointed by their Governments.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter