JIS News

The Consular Corps of Jamaica will host the International Trade Expo for a second consecutive year from October 10 to 12 later this year at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
The Trade Expo, which already has seen 15 countries indicating their willingness to be participants, seeks to achieve two main goals, developing international cooperation between Jamaican businesses and foreign companies, and reestablishing the capital city of Kingston as a prime tourist destination.The Expo was officially launched on Wednesday (March 10) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel with a reception that was chaired by Dean of the Consular Corps of Jamaica, Arnold Foote.
Delivering the keynote address at the launch, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, K. D. Knight told the gathering, comprised mostly of diplomats and consulars, that with the involvement of the Jamaican private sector as well as participation from several countries overseas, the Expo was an impressive accomplishment and boded well for the country’s standing in future trade negotiations.
Countries that have committed their participation include Peru, Poland, Lithuania, South Africa, Finland, Norway, Guyana, Argentina, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Denmark, Greece and Turkey.
Pointing to the advantages of Jamaica hosting an international trade expo, Minister Knight explained that Jamaica was involved in the negotiations with the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). He added that several of the countries that would participate in the Expo would be a part of the hemispheric free trade agreement, which altogether was a marketplace of 800 million persons.
“Therefore,” Minister Knight said, “when we now negotiate and our negotiations are complemented by an exposition of this nature and by an involvement of the private sector, it moves the negotiations from a simple exercise in which we are trying to develop rules and procedures, to one in which the consumers and producers begin to show their goods and the greatest implementation of all will take place when trade begins to occur.”
Minister Knight stressed, “we must ensure that countries like Jamaica in the negotiating theatre of the FTAA be given special attention, having regard to the level of our development and the size of our economy.”
Continuing, the Minister said that liberalization, by itself, “was not a panacea but is a means through which we can achieve sustainable growth, sustainable development, poverty alleviation and job creation.”Minister Knight also discussed international trade opportunities, mentioning the signing, by Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson, in his capacity as Chairman of CARICOM, of a Free Trade agreement with Costa Rica on March 9, which would deepen the trading relations between CARICOM and Costa Rica.
He also mentioned that the Lower House had passed a Bill to bring into domestic legislation the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that established the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. “We are moving closer to the implementation of those measures that will deepen the economic integration of CARICOM,” he said.
Minister Knight said the trade agreement with Costa Rica coupled with the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas were both indicative of the broadening base of improved trade relations for Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
Also speaking at the Trade Expo’s launch was Managing Director of the Bank of Nova Scotia, William Clarke, whose bank is the event’s main sponsor.
Mr. Clarke signed an agreement with the Dean of Consular Corps of Jamaica, Arnold Foote, which signified Scotiabank as the main sponsor.
The BNS Managing Director noted that the financial institution was supportive of the Trade Expo as the bank “understood the importance of international trade and the benefits of strategic alliances and joint ventures which can fuel the growth of the Jamaican economy.”
“It makes sense to establish international partnerships that can facilitate and promote economic growth,” Mr. Clarke added.
Assessing the benefits of the Expo, Mr. Foote said, “it will create an environment for the countries represented in Jamaica to develop trade with Jamaican companies and to expose, not only products manufactured for export, but also products they import, giving Jamaican companies vital information so that manufacturers and businessmen here can know what to offer them.”
According to Mr. Foote, despite the fact that a number of the countries which participated in last year’s Expo “were tight lipped about how much business they did, those that gave information showed they generated over $700 million in business.”
He said he anticipated that the Expo’s second year would surpass the amount of business that was generated in the initial year of the event.

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