Jamaica recorded a 26 per cent increase in export earnings between January and September 2011, compared to the corresponding period of 2010, said Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA) President, Vitus Evans.
Speaking at the JEA’s Breakfast Forum at the Wyndham Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (February 28), Mr. Evans said data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) showed that total exports for the period stood at just over US$1.3 billion.
This figure, he pointed out, included a 13.8 per cent increase in non-traditional exports, which yielded US$524 million in earnings. This was an increase of approximately US$64 million over the corresponding period in 2010.
Despite these increases, Mr. Evans said the trade deficit between Jamaica and the rest of the world widened by approximately 30 per cent, with imports for the period under review valued at some US$4.8 billion. This, he pointed out, was an increase of just over US$1 billion or 29 per cent.
Against this background, Mr. Evans underscored the need to “increase our export earnings to reduce the trade deficit and build the economy”.
“The JEA is acutely aware that the only way Jamaica can emerge from our economic crisis is through a thriving export sector. By working closely with the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce – Hon. Anthony Hylton, we want to ensure that (you) have (your) fingers on the pulse of the sector, and that the policies implemented by the government will be most appropriate for the development of the sector, and dovetail in strategies currently being implemented by the JEA…and the other agencies and sector groups working to achieve export growth and development,’ Mr. Evans said.
In his address at the forum, Minister Hylton, said his Ministry will seek to engage CARICOM partners “more systematically” in addressing the matter.
This, he pointed out, was demonstrative of a “greater willingness” to use “economic diplomacy” as a first line of action.
“But it would also demonstrate a greater ability and willingness to utilize the courts to address some of the challenges faced by our export sector,” Mr. Hylton contended.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter