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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is in the process of reviewing the country’s Foreign Trade Policy.

This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, A.J. Nicholson, during a sitting of the Upper House, today (June 7).

The Minister was debating a motion brought by Opposition Senator, Christopher Tufton.

The motion, which was approved by the Senate, acknowledges that the Government has given priority to a growth strategy for the Jamaican economy and calls on the administration to give regular updates on targets to be met in the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Senator Nicholson noted that the foreign trade policy is expected to facilitate domestic economic growth and is an element of the country’s growth inducement strategy.

“The foreign trade policy is a part of the strategy. The purpose of the policy is to contribute to increasing economic prosperity by maximising the gains from a country’s integration into the global trade process,” Senator Nicholson said.

He stated that Jamaica’s foreign trade policy influences what is traded, how it is traded, who trades, what standards are applied and how disputes are resolved.

“I congratulate all of the private sector companies and firms which are moving to expand into areas, hitherto unknown. Some are going into Africa, particularly West Africa; some are going into Haiti and Brazil. This is what needs to be done and I congratulate them,” the Foreign Trade Minister said.

The Foreign Trade Policy also establishes a framework setting out the parameters within which foreign trade can contribute to the achievement of Jamaica’s development objectives.

Meanwhile, in his comments, Senator Tufton encouraged the government to update the country on the progress being made with the IMF programme.

“Updates should not just be for the bankers and the financiers, but the ordinary Jamaican citizen, household helpers, mechanics, the young people and pensioners,” Senator Tufton said.

He also said that if the country is to achieve growth, and job creation, as outlined in the IMF document, “we will need an investment climate that is internationally competitive.”

On May 1, the IMF’s Executive Board approved a four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement, in the amount of US$932.3 million.

Some US$207.2 million of this sum has already been disbursed to Jamaica, of which US$87.9 million represents budgetary support for the government’s comprehensive economic reform agenda. The IMF’s first quarter review for Jamaica is due in August.

Contact: Latonya Linton