Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the strategic approach towards exporting to China, should focus on “high value added, niche market products that China does not produce."
Mr. Hylton pointed out that China’s growing domestic market, with its diverse segments across its regions, offers opportunities for Jamaican export manufacturing sector.
He cited Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee and Appleton Rum as two of those niche market products.
The Minister was speaking at a forum on ‘Doing Business With China’, hosted by the Jamaica China Friendship Association and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, at the Wyndham New Kingston Hotel, on July 11.
He said Jamaica welcomes the opportunity to participate in the sixth China-Latin America and the Caribbean Business Summit, to be held in Hangzhou this October.
"China has contributed significantly to the development of Jamaica’s infrastructure, tourism, and education, and hopes to make contributions in farm processing, manufacturing, aviation services and financial services in the future,” Mr. Hylton said.
The Minister noted that the more recent investments made by China in Jamaica came against the background of a four year-old China policy on Latin America and Caribbean that outlined the framework for a comprehensive and co-operative partnership with the region.
He explained that China sees Jamaica as serving an important role in its global commercial strategy, and specifically its global maritime strategy.
The Minister explained that Jamaica serves as a potential springboard for export of Chinese products to the United States, Canada and the European Union, and that CARICOM countries provide a ‘production platform’ due to preferential arrangements provided by the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN) and the Caribbean Forum- European Union (CARIFORUM–EU) Economic Partnership Agreement.
According to Mr. Hylton, China has been playing a major role in Jamaica’s growth initiatives, noting that “feasibility studies of the Fort Augusta Container Terminal and the Gordon Cay Container Transshipment Hub are currently being undertaken by Chinese companies, at no cost to the Government of Jamaica."
He also pointed to the MOU between the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), for the development of a container terminal at Fort Augusta and associated development of lands at Caymanas.
The Minister explained that these projects are expected to exploit Jamaica’s strategic location, providing direct connectivity in the form of international shipping lanes.
"They will also maximise advantages of our natural harbour and advanced port development, improve internal transport linkage, while generating employment in the maritime and transport sectors,” he said.
Minister Hylton’s presentation followed testimonials from the University of the West Indies, Mona, and Businessman, Dalton Yap, on their experience ‘Doing Business With China’.
By Andrea Braham