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A number of issues raised by CARICOM States, including Jamaica, at the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF), held in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States of America (USA), from August 17-19, will be followed up.
This undertaking has been given by the United States Secretary of Commerce, Carlos M. Gutierrez, according to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Faith Innerarity.
Addressing journalists at the post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House, on November 5, Mrs. Innerarity pointed out that matters raised at the forum by the CARICOM States, included: waiving of the US tax for tourists visiting the Caribbean; the establishment of US pre-clearance facilities in the region; convening of discussions, with a view to resolving outstanding issues pertaining to Jamaica’s ackee exports to the US; and the organisation of a US trade mission to the region, headed by the Commerce Secretary.
“They also requested some assistance, in terms of technical support (and) capacity building, to the regional trade negotiators, in respect of Competitiveness Councils, and also support for the development of small businesses in the region,” Mrs. Innerarity said.
“It has been indicated that the signals from the US Secretary of Commerce . were very positive. Hence, there will be a follow up, in terms of ensuring that the issues that were discussed, are given priority, and that within the next few months, within the timeframe of the existing U.S. administration, there will be some positive response,” she added.
The ACF saw leaders from 34 countries in the western hemisphere, meeting to exchange information on issues and challenges facing these nations, and to propose solutions, in terms of sharing best practices.
Areas of focus included: trade logistics; renewable energy and sustainable resources; travel and tourism; and alliances in business and education.
Jamaica was represented by State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern; Jamaica Trade and Invest President, Robert Gregory; and Kingston’s Mayor, Desmond McKenzie.