JIS News

Christopher Sinckler, Executive Director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC), has said that developing nations, such as those in the Caribbean and Latin America, have not benefited much from the process of trade liberalization.
“We can empirically show by evidence that liberalisation, unbridled, too fast, too deep, too wide-spread, is disastrous for Caribbean territories,”Mr. Sinckler said, noting that from 1994 to 2000, more than 7,000 jobs were lost in Dominica as a result of the liberalization of the banana industry.
Mr. Sinckler, who was addressing a trade and environment seminar held last night (Nov. 29) at the Hilton Kingston Hotel, said that liberalization has typically favoured the developed nations.
Citing 1989 CPDC study, which projected job losses to the Caribbean banana industry from the full liberalization of the European Union banana market, Mr. Sinckler said the study found that liberalization, in its worst case scenario, “would result in a catastrophe” for Caribbean markets and that “compensatory schemes are unlikely to be large or tiny enough to accommodate such a scenario”.
It further projected that, “the likely result of this catastrophic scenario could be a loss of 25 per cent banana production within six months, 50 per cent within a year, and perhaps 60 to 70 per cent production loss over a two-year period”.
“This scenario would place tremendous burden on the societies of the banana producing countries and undoubtedly, change them into more divided countries,” Mr. Sinckler stated.
The seminar, which was held under the theme: ‘Emerging Issues in Trade and Environment: Can Manufacturers and Civil Society Cope?’ was organised by the Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA) in conjunction with the Government of Jamaica and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Environmental Action (ENACT) Programme.
In his remarks, Land and Environment Minister, Dean Peart, charged the country’s manufacturing sector to devise strategies that would give Jamaica a competitive edge in the global marketplace.
He said that the JMA would have a key role to play in this area, as they must “compete and remain on the cutting edge of technology in terms of products, service to customers and so on, if they are to remain viable and successful”.
Minister Peart lauded the seminar’s focus on the environment, noting that, it was prudent to “examine the role of the environment in economic developments as this impacts all our lives”.
He noted that, “in more recent times, we have had to seriously examine the critical role of natural hazards and how they impinge on our growth and development”.
The Land and Environment Minister pointed out that while the environment was traditionally considered as an afterthought when things have gone wrong, “we are pleased with the growing level of awareness of the importance of the environment and why we must plan ahead”.