JIS News

Diplomats are being briefed on government’s plans to deepen relations with trading partners and to expand into regional and international markets, during meetings with key Ministers this week.
The meetings are part of Diplomatic Week activities from January 24 to 29.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, told JIS News that deliberate effort is being made on the part of the Government to increase economic ties with more industrialised and affluent countries, as well as middle income and poorer nations.
“We’re looking to deepen cooperation but we are looking for it to result in the building up of capacities in our own country, to become more productive, have more exports, to create jobs, and to grow. I don’t think any country can grow now without international cooperation,” he stated.
According to Dr. Baugh, such a move will require that private sector companies retool and increase efficiencies to become more market competitive.
“Businesses will now have to focus on areas where there is a comparative advantage, build efficiencies, upgrade and re-tool operations and increase collaborations to take full advantage and satisfy the new markets.because the market only rewards efficiencies.
“It doesn’t have any sympathies for goods that are shoddy or not functional; you have to be competitive. We now have to cater to bigger marketplaces. There’s great advantage in that companies will benefit from economies of scale,” he pointed out.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, in the meantime, noted the importance of Jamaicans learning a second language, as a number of the countries, with which the government is looking to forge closer economic relations, are Spanish speaking.
“Countries we see ourselves getting close to (are) Brazil, Mexico. We have to become bi-lingual. A lot of the marketplaces that we’re going to be dealing with including the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, Guyana and South America, the demand is there for several languages to be spoken, but we will start with Spanish, making certain that Spanish is widely used. Jamaica has now got to accept that it has to speak several languages,” he stated.
Organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Diplomatic Week, which is in its 12th year, provides a framework for updating the diplomats on government policies and programmes as well as an opportunity for dialogue and feedback on areas of mutual interest.
Some 23 overseas based diplomats are participating in the week of activities, along with 33 of their locally posted colleagues.