Govt. Committed to Export Sector


Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has reiterated the government’s commitment to the export sector citing the critical support and facilitation services offered to the sector in ensuring that it remains competitive.
Mrs. Simpson Miller’s comments were contained in a speech delivered on her behalf by Aloun Assamba Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, at the launch of Export Week by the Jamaica Exporters’ Association on Monday (June 25).
She said disbursements by the EX/IM Bank grew by 25.6 per cent reaching $2.17 Billion in 2006, with foreign currency disbursements increasing from US$5.6 in 2005 to US$8.4 last year. According to the Prime Minister’s statement, facilitation services including those offered by the Bureau of Standards, the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) programme and the Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP), continue to provide information and technical expertise to the sector to make it globally competitive.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said the growth in manufactured and non-traditional exports of 65 and 79.8 per cent respectively, was a reflection of the continued diversification and dynamism of the Jamaican export sector, and signaled the growing participation of small and medium-sized businesses in export activity.
She said the PSDP which is an initiative between the government and the European Union (EU) has made funding available to the export sector, particularly in the creative industries, tourism, agri-business and the services sub-sector. Under the EU Banana Support Programme, government has also spent approximately US$323 Million to provide critical inputs, training and infrastructure to assist farmers expand production and take advantage of niche markets in Europe.
Continuing, the Prime Minister’s statement noted that the Ministry of Agriculture has expended $133 Million to promote and develop apiculture, orchard crops and vegetables production for the hotel sector. $1.5 Billion in loans at 10 per cent interest has also been made available to farmers.
On the international scene, the commitment to the export sector is reflected in important lobby and negotiations, the most recent of which occurred at the Conference on the Caribbean held in Washington recently. In her address to the conference, Mrs. Simpson Miller called on the World Trade Organization to recognize the needs of small, open and vulnerable economies such as those in the Caribbean, noting that untimely reciprocal free-trade agreements would create serious problems of adjustments for these economies.
She congratulated the export sector for its creativity, innovativeness, flexibility and dynamism and for showing that Jamaican exports can stand up among the best in the world. She said partnership between the government and the export sector is vital, adding that state agencies which relate to the export sector should redouble their efforts in servicing and facilitating its growth.
Six export companies were inducted into the Jamaica Exporters’ Association’s Million Club, including Petrojam which earned US$280 Million from exports last year. Other inductees were Red Stripe, J. Wray and Nephew, Industrial Chemicals Limited, Jabesco Limited and Advance Farms Limited.

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