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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, says the Jamaica booth at the Shanghai 2010 trade expo, in China, has been well represented, attracting some 25,000 visitors daily, since the start of the event on May 1.
“The CARICOM (Caribbean Community) pavilion apparently is a very attractive pavilion, attracting some 27,000 visitors over the two-day period, June 2 to 4,” he told journalists on June 15, during a press conference at his office, in New Kingston.
The trade show, which is regarded as the largest trade expo in world history, will last until October 31, and is expected to attract millions of visitors over the five-month period.
The Minister said reports coming out of China suggested that nearly all of the visitors to the CARICOM pavilion have also visited the Jamaican booth.
“I’m told the Jamaica booth is very attractive and very exciting and we expect that the number of visitors will increase by the summer,” he said.
However, Mr. Samuda said Jamaica has had its difficulties in China, as a result of the May 24 unrest in West Kingston.
“A number of persons in Shanghai have expressed great concern and, in fact, in some instances, we were advised of persons who were having second thoughts with Jamaica as an investment destination,” he informed.
He said as a result, a team from Jamaica will be visiting Shanghai in July to address the concerns of business interests in the Asian country.
“We intend to meet with a number of potential investors and to hold discussions with the community in China that would be interested in partnering with us in our economic development,” the Minister said.
“Our aim is to assure them that Jamaica is safer today than it has been for a long time, because we have seen a massive reduction in the murder rate and there is no question that the direction we have taken is the appropriate direction, and we are coming to grips with our difficulties in fighting crime and violence,” he added.
President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Sancia Bennett-Templer, said the organisation has already been in touch with some of the “influencers” in China, with a view to reclaiming business interests in the country.
“We are also thinking of inviting to Jamaica, some of the influencers, particularly in the ICT and film industries, because those are the two industries which will be most affected by the unrest,” she informed.
“We are going business to business and that’s a very effective methodology for us,” Mrs. Bennett-Templer added.
In the meantime, the Minister said a number of Jamaican products have been doing well at the expo, including coffee, books, apparel and sauces. He said the Jamaican Reggae Room is also quite popular.