- The Dominican Republic is an important target market for Jamaica.
- JAMPRO's clear intention is to develop this market and to facilitate direct buyer engagements for Jamaican exporters.
- The Dominican Republic can be a bridge for Jamaican exporters into new markets.
President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Dianne Edwards, says the Dominican Republic is an important target market for Jamaica.
Ms. Edwards, who was addressing a press briefing on September 23, on the early outcomes of JAMPRO’s first ever trade mission to the Dominican Republic between September 10 and 14, said the agency’s clear intention is to develop this market and to facilitate direct buyer engagements for Jamaican exporters.
“The Dominican Republic is an important target market for us not only because of its size and geographic proximity to Jamaica, but also because we need to break new ground, find new opportunities to think outside the box and look at new markets and opportunities,” she said.
She assured members of the private sector that JAMPRO was taking a long-term interest in the Spanish speaking country, which has an estimated population of 10 million, which is five times the Jamaican market, and can provide the gateway to a further 10 million persons in neighbouring Haiti, with which it shares a border.
“What we are interested in doing is a deep dive into new markets. We are not interested in going broad brush into a whole series of markets. What we want to do is to really build a partnership with the Dominican Republic, so it is not just that we have been there one time and done with that. What we are going to be doing is continuing to research the new opportunities that the market offers us and take new companies to that market because it is a huge market, a huge opportunity,” the JAMPRO head said.
She further noted that the Dominican Republic can be a bridge for Jamaican exporters into new markets as it is closer to the Hispanic Caribbean and Spain than Jamaica.
In 2012, Jamaica imported US$48 million worth of goods from the Dominican Republic, while exporting approximately US$540,000. The JAMPRO in highlighting the figures, pointed to the need to bridge the trade deficit.
The trade mission to the Dominican Republic was executed in partnership with the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA), Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Dominican Republic Embassy in Jamaica, the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, among others.
One of the aims of the mission was to gain greater knowledge and understanding of a market that has remained largely unexplored by Jamaica despite the CARICOM-DR free trade agreement.
It included two business fora, site visits, meetings with government and private sector agencies, while individual companies participated in business meetings.
The mission was hailed a success by all who attended with several firms returning home with commitments from businesses in the Dominican Republic.