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Story Highlights

  • The objective of the seminar, held under the theme: ‘Out of Many Exports, One Better Economy’, was to sensitise exporters and other interest groups on the benefits to be derived under the various trade agreements being administered by the Trade Board
  • Chairman, Trade Board Ltd., Benthan Hussey, said the agency is embarking on the seminars to highlight and underscore the need to increase exports.
  • Several companies had their products on display during the seminar.

Scores of exporters, hungry for information on how to boost business activity, turned out on Wednesday, October 16, for the first in series of sensitisation seminars organised by the Trade Board Limited.

The objective of the seminar, held under the theme: ‘Out of Many Exports, One Better Economy’, was to sensitise exporters and other interest groups on the benefits to be derived under the various trade agreements being administered by the Trade Board; to broaden public awareness; and to encourage increased export activity, particularly through trade agreements.

Addressing a packed room at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) Marcus Garvey Drive complex in Kingston, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, said he was very pleased and surprised at the turnout.

“What this tells me is that our people continue to hunger for and to thirst for relevant information that affects them in their daily lives, in the way they do business, in the way they go about planning their families, and just surviving in what is admittedly very challenging times,” he said.

Mr. Hylton informed that the Trade Board, an agency of this Ministry, administers existing trade agreements with countries and facilitates imports and exports and called for a balance between both activities.

“Our drive must be to do both activities much more efficiently… It is not that you only import or export; both things must occur. But how you do it and the efficiency with which you do it is very important,” Minister Hylton said.

He pointed out that while importation is necessary, countries importing more for production and less for consumption are the successful economies.

“We have to focus more on bringing in the things that we use as inputs into production than we do as final products for consumption. The extent to which we do that, we would narrow the trade deficit or eliminate it, because we would be importing more efficiently and exporting more and you will eliminate the trade deficit, which has a direct impact on the value of our dollar,” he pointed out.

The Minister further noted that Jamaica’s historical position, as colonies of the United Kingdom, has helped to shape the business mindset in a fundamental way, and he urged businesses to re-examine old assumptions and look at new opportunities.

Turning to the global logistics hub project being pursued by the government, Minister Hylton noted that the initiative is a platform that will facilitate for more efficient trading. He asserted that part of Jamaica’s value is the large market it will be able to serve through the project.

“Part of what the logistics hub is about is expanding the network of trade agreements so that we will be able to put ourselves in a position where we will be trading globally….I do believe and want to see the day come when we are able to trade and have access into every market in the world,” he said.

Chairman, Trade Board Ltd., Benthan Hussey, said the agency is embarking on the seminars to highlight and underscore the need to increase exports.

“The Trade Board has embarked on this to assist this country in, first of all, appreciating and understanding that there is real reason for us to export. We have a tendency, too strong a tendency, to import. It is too easy to import and we have literally built a culture of import. We want to change that around,” he said.

Mr. Hussey pointed out that the export figures “are not looking good”, and advised the Board will be seeking to encourage and expand exports through the various trade agreements now in place. He noted that despite the world economy not currently doing well; Jamaica can improve its economic circumstance.

Several companies had their products on display during the seminar. These included: John Bullock and Sons, showcasing their rum punch product; Nestle Jamaica Ltd.; Crimson Dawn; SwaCraft; DNexStep; National Commercial Bank; Devon House Ice Cream; and Juici Patties.

Among the topics discussed were: ‘Preparing for Export Markets; Export Support Provided by the Jamaica Export Association (JEA); Export Procedure for Agriculture Produce; Proper Procedures to Facilitate Efficient Exporting; Establishing A Business; Trade Policies To Assist Exporters; Financing Your Export Business; Export Opportunities Under the PetroCaribe Agreement; Support Systems to Address Export Challenges; and Export Certification and Rules of Origin under each Trade Agreement.

The mission of the Trade Board Ltd is to facilitate trade locally and internationally by the issuance of licences and certificates of origin consistent with Government policies and international agreements as well as to develop and promote a secure framework for e-transactions.