Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says Expo Jamaica 2012 will help to strengthen the manufacturing and export sectors, and drive the country’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.
The four-day event, which is being held at the National Arena from April 26 to 29, has brought together some 380 buyers from 24 countries and 240 corporate companies and exhibitors to participate.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on April 26, Mr. Hylton noted that the expo is an integral part of the strategy to foster growth in local manufacturing and to build a platform for the country’s exporters.
“Expo 2012 presents a window to the world…it is an opportunity for local manufacturers to showcase their products to buyers from around the world, as part of a broader market penetration strategy,” he explained, adding that its staging is a direct appeal and solicitation for investments from the foreign investor community.
The Minister said that the manufacturing and export sectors are striving to strengthen their capacity in an environment that poses challenges, but also holds opportunities.
“On one hand, macro-economic stability has been sustained with interest rates trending downward and there are stable prices, while the global environment becomes increasingly more competitive,” he said, while pledging his commitment to the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) to address the various concerns and issues that currently exist.
He argued that enhancement in key infrastructure, leveraging cutting-edge technologies and improving human resources are crucial in order to improve competitiveness and the business environment.
Mr. Hylton emphasised the importance of "modernising our production facilities and the way we integrate our businesses into the global supply-chain," for continued growth in the export and manufacturing sectors.
The Minister pointed out that strong partnerships and collaborations are needed to combat the challenges that the export and manufacturing sectors face.
“We have no other option but to embrace the challenge and get the job done. This calls for teamwork and closer collaboration between government and the private sector to put in place the core elements for a viable export strategy. Bold steps must be taken to develop world-class enterprises with the capacity to drive the country's competitiveness in global markets,” Mr. Hylton said.
Expo Jamaica 2012 is being staged by the JMA and the Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA), in partnership with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).
By Kadian Brown, JIS PRO