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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Anthony Hylton, has said that Jamaica must expand trade in goods and services in order to create lasting wealth.
“As a small, open and vulnerable economy, trade in both exports and imports is important to Jamaica’s economy, therefore, to expand our exports in goods and services, means the creation of more jobs as well as wealth,” he stated.
Minister Hylton, who was speaking at a public forum held at the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville last night (April 20) noted further, that increasing regional and international trade, “will stimulate production, marketing and investment”.
He pointed out however, that achieving the increased trade levels, required the support of the private sector. “My Ministry can negotiate the agreements but in the final analysis, government and the private sector must together provide the requisite financing and investment, research the markets, determine the demand for particular goods and services and identify areas of comparative advantage.there is also the need to produce products on a competitive basis at the highest standards,” he stated.
Organized by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Inter-American Development Bank, the fora was the first of ten being held across the island focussing on international trade issues, including trade negotiations in which Jamaica is involved. The official launch of the series will take place sometime next month.
Senator Hylton noted that the attempt to inform the public about global issues was nothing new, as for more than a decade a number of sensitisation sessions had been conducted throughout the length and breadth of Jamaica. “We have made some progress and we now seek to deepen the understanding of the issues,” he pointed out.
He indicated that the series of public discussions would be buttressed by the launch of an educational programme on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy by the CARICOM Secretariat and “at that time, we will be engaging the Social Development Commission to help us bring the message to over 700 or more identified communities.”
Some of the other topics covered were: the role of CARICOM, Caribbean Basin Initiative, CARIBCAN, the LOME Conventions and the Cotonou agreement with the European Union.