JIS News

Jamaica and Chile have signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) on Air Transport and Agricultural Products, as both countries seek to boost trade and travel ties.
This will also enable the establishment of export protocols under which agricultural trade can take place directly between the two countries. Prime Minister P.J. Patterson made the disclosure at a post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, yesterday (September 5). He informed that the documents were signed during his recent visit to Chile with that country’s President, Ricardo Lagos.
The MOU on Air Transport is geared towards a full air service agreement between Jamaica and Chile within the coming weeks and a draft agreement would be considered by the Air Policy Committee of Jamaica, at its meeting later this month.
“We are seeking to secure, as far as possible, what is considered an open skies agreement,” Mr. Patterson noted.
It is expected that the agreement will facilitate passenger traffic, especially for tourists from Latin America, and increase the movement of cargo from countries such as Chile, which supplies a significant volume of agricultural products, fish (especially salmon) and wines for Jamaica’s tourist industry. The open skies agreement is expected to further allow cargo planes to avoid having to overfly Jamaica with goods to the USA and then be brought back to Jamaica at higher costs.
In respect to tourist travel between both countries, Prime Minister Patterson informed that having met with Chilean government tourism agencies and tour operators, Jamaica is expected to be a more attractive destination for visitors from Latin American markets.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is expected to attend a travel trade show in Chile in November 2005, where it will begin to plan a charter flight with tour operators and continue discussions with Lan Chile and other Chilean airlines.
Meanwhile, the agreement for trade in agricultural products between Chile and Jamaica will result in the transport of non-processed foods from Chile being able to stop in Jamaica before going to the USA. Non-processed foods from Chile now go through the USA, thereby incurring additional costs for local importers.
The availability of airlift from Jamaica to the Caribbean and Europe is expected to create an opportunity for Jamaica to be a trans-shipment hub for cargo from Chile and other Latin American countries. It is also expected that the direct movement of cargo and particularly agricultural products will strengthen the business case for tourist passenger traffic to Jamaica from Chile and other Latin American countries.
The finalization of the relevant protocols and procedures to deal with sanitary and phyto-sanitary matters are to be worked out within the next nine months.