New Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton has described Heads of Missions as economic stakeholders and important players in the process of getting investments into the country.
Delivering his first address to the diplomats at a Heads of Missions meeting, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, on June 30, the Minister said he would be working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, to “attract and expand investment opportunities."
Dr. Tufton described himself as the Chief Salesman and, that he will, within the coming weeks, seek audience with the “key players,” with the intention of gauging the Ministry to Ministry collaboration.
“I believe in joined-up government. In the past, the Ministries operated as individual players. However, each Ministry’s mandate is linked with the bigger picture of Jamaica’s development,” he said.
The Minister highlighted the importance of targeted networking and intervention. “I need your assistance in rallying your network. Allow us the opportunities to meet with specific persons to initiate investment in specific markets,” he said.
Dr. Tufton also spoke of the rules of the multilateral trading system, governed largely by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Some of the rules, he said, such as Non-Tariff Barriers (NTF) were used by some countries as impediments to Jamaica’s presence on their markets.
Citing the case of Jamaica’s intention to export sweet potatoes, Dr. Tufton said that the disease which affected that crop decades ago was given as the reason for disallowing its export.
“Some of these rules and the interpretation of them, create impediments to market opportunities. We have to exploit the trade rules to our benefit,” he said.
Dr. Tufton also expressed interest in working closely with the Foreign Ministry in improving Jamaica’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS).
He also informed the Heads of Missions that he is prepared to work closely with the Foreign Ministry and the Heads to determine “very specific” possibilities for economic gains from the country’s participation in CARICOM.