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  • Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, said the Government is committed to fostering a competitive environment for business in Jamaica.
  • She said there are clear benefits for business and consumers from operating in an open, competitive environment, stressing that the Government is working towards ensuring that there is fair competition in all sectors.
  • The State Minister pointed out that the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), in measuring the benefits of competition, has reported very positive results in terms of value to consumers in the Jamaican marketplace.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, said the Government is committed to fostering a competitive environment for business in Jamaica.

She said there are clear benefits for business and consumers from operating in an open, competitive environment, stressing that the Government is working towards ensuring that there is fair competition in all sectors.

“As a Government, one of our main tasks is the establishment of a favourable environment for competition to take place. Competition law is to protect competition, not necessarily competitors. In this way, we maintain a competitive and comprehensive marketplace,” Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams said.

She was addressing the opening of the 13th annual meeting of the Latin American Competition Forum on Wednesday, September 24, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

The State Minister pointed out that the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), in measuring the benefits of competition, has reported very positive results in terms of value to consumers in the Jamaican marketplace.

“Estimates during the most intensive period of competitive interaction among telecommunications providers between 2007 and 2010 are that consumer surplus exceeds US$46.6 million annually, on average. This highlights that a competitive environment truly created an improved marketplace for Jamaican consumers,” she noted.

Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams said that as her Ministry leads the process towards a logistics-centred economy, there will be greater need for the business community to be governed by competition.

“Competition provides a natural platform to encourage several of the core principles of the logistics-centred economy, namely competitiveness, efficiency and innovation,” she pointed out.

The Latin American Competition Forum involves collaboration among the Organization of Economic Cooperation on Development (OECD), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the FTC.

Discussions are focussed on competition in the retail groceries sector and the effects of competition advocacy activities.

The State Minister commended the organisers for staging the two-day forum, noting that it presents a clear opportunity for a community of competition agencies to meet and discuss matters of common interest.

She also hailed the focus on competition advocacy which, she said, “sheds light on an important tool used by competition agencies to carry out their mandates.”

“Competition advocacy is crucial for a serious culture of competition and to encourage a greater buy-in among consumers, suppliers and other public entities,” she added.

The State Minister further commended the work of the FTC in the development of a competition policy in Jamaica.

The annual forum brings together competition agencies from Latin America, North America and the Caribbean, for the purpose of discussing topical competition issues.  This is the first time that an international conference on competition policy of this nature is being hosted in the English-speaking Caribbean.