JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica launched its National Aid for Trade Strategy on October 27, which is designed to enhancing the country’s export capacity and improve competitiveness.
  • The strategy, developed by the Government in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), articulates the country’s trade-related priorities, and is designed to attract and ensure focused access to investment and aid resources.
  • It is an initiative of the World Trade Organization (WTO), aimed at assisting developing countries, particularly the least developed and most vulnerable, to build their trade capacity.

Jamaica launched its National Aid for Trade Strategy on October 27, which is designed to enhancing the country’s export capacity and improve competitiveness.

The strategy, developed by the Government in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), articulates the country’s trade-related priorities, and is designed to attract and ensure focused access to investment and aid resources.

It is an initiative of the World Trade Organization (WTO), aimed at assisting developing countries, particularly the least developed and most vulnerable, to build their trade capacity.

At the launch held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, said data shows that the benefits from trade liberalization for the Caribbean region has been limited.

As such, he said, when the IDB offered to partner with Jamaica to provide more substantive information on the country’s trade capacity needs “we responded positively”, resulting in the formulation of the National Aid for Trade Strategy.

He noted that formulating the strategy was a collaborative effort involving the Jamaica Trade Adjustment Team (JTAT), the membership of which includes representatives from the private and public sectors, civil society, the development partners and Cabinet, through a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on International Relations and Trade. “Support for this project has been at the highest level of Government,” he stated.

Dr. Baugh informed that the private sector has been fully supportive of the undertaking, noting that the strategy entails development to enable the private sector to take advantage of market access opportunities.

He also welcomed the support from the IDB and the DFID. “They introduced the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund) from which Jamaica is benefitting. We were able to introduce our National Aid for Trade Strategy at the WTO Third Global Review for Aid for Trade held in Geneva (Switzerland) from July 18-19 and bilateral meetings were also held with several of our development partners. The CARICOM Secretariat was also able to speak to work being done at the regional level,” he informed.

Noting that implementation of the strategy “is now our challenge,” given the prevailing economic climate, Dr. Baugh stressed the need for collaboration by stakeholders at all levels, to find creative ways of strengthening the country’s trade regime, and to bring institutions, processes, and procedures up to international standard, citing food safety as a critical area.

“Cabinet has recently approved the National Food Safety Policy. The United States Food Safety Modernization Act makes its implementation even more urgent,’ he stated.

The Minister also highlighted ensuing revision of the National Trade Policy, which, among other things, aims to ensure that trade is recognised and acknowledged as a national development priority that is integrated into the country’s National Development Plan – Vision 2030 Jamaica.

Dr. Baugh said the administration is anticipating implementation of the National Aid for Trade Strategy soon, adding that, “I hope that at the Fourth WTO Global review of Aid for Trade, Jamaica will be in a position to report that implementation of the strategy has had successful outcomes”.

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