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  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Hon. Horace Dalley, says improving trade facilitation is critical in achieving the levels of economic growth that the country requires.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Hon. Horace Dalley, says improving trade facilitation is critical in achieving the levels of economic growth that the country requires.

He was speaking against the background of the World Bank’s recent Doing Business study, which states that Jamaica could record growth averaging five per cent per annum, if the country’s trade and investment facilitation process is significantly improved.

We need to “break the things that are hindering us from expanding… (and) growing this economy, and facilitating, in a better way, the people who do business with us,” he said.

“(We need to examine) what laws we need to amend, which regulations we need to change or abandon, (and) what it is that we have to change in how we do business in Jamaica, and still maintain our integrity,” he added.

Speaking on the report findings at a Trade Facilitation Task Force (TF2) meeting at the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce in New Kingston, on Thursday (July 23), Mr. Dalley said the data showed that Jamaica’s import and export processes and timelines need to be improved.

He noted that Jamaica’s import timeline averages 17 days, compared to four for Singapore; seven for the United Arab Emirates (UAE); nine for Panama; and 10 for Dominican Republic. He said the costs are also “quite significantly higher than our competing neighbours.”

In relation to exports, Mr. Dalley, who has responsibility for the public sector, said Jamaica’s 20-day timeline, was higher that Costa Rica’s 14, and seven for UAE.

Additionally, he said the report highlights that Jamaican exporters must complete six documents, while their counterparts in the Dominican Republic are only required to fill out four, while it stands at three each in Singapore and UAE.

Mr. Dalley cited the latest public sector transformation update report, which he said, reiterates that the Government can “make things simple”, by “changing the way we operate.”

Further, that by amending some laws and re-configuring certain operations, “we could enhance trade and investment.”

“Anything that we have to do to make trade and investment easier, to make the business people of this country be in a position to (conduct) business easier, then we have to find the solution…we must find the solution. That is what public sector transformation is about…it is about how to grow and expand your economy for the betterment of your people,” he stated.

He gave an undertaking to be integrally involved in the work of the Trade Facilitation Task Force to ensure its success.

Industry, Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, who also spoke at the meeting, pointed out that “it is only through trade facilitation that countries are able to benefit from the new dynamics in global production and increased exports, and remain competitive and open to international investments.”

He said trade facilitation is the centrepiece of the Government’s revised export strategy, designed to foster export led-growth, which is slated to be launched in August.

Thursday’s meeting was held to update participants on the progress of the Task Force’s work, since its recent validation work and signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by representatives of the various Government Ministries.

The MoU is expected to remove obstacles in order to facilitate ease of movement of goods and services through Jamaica’s ports.

The Trade Facilitation Task Force is housed at the offices of the Trade Board, and is responsible for promoting and coordinating measures to improve the business environment through trade facilitation.