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Jamaica intends to open new missions in Spain, Brazil, India, Russia, Haiti, and a country in the Persian Gulf over the next three years.
In making the announcement during his 2008/09 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House, yesterday (June 25), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh said the opening of new missions reflects the Government’s intention to re-open trade and investment promotion offices in important centres in North America and Europe, while strengthening Jamaica’s existing missions to play a more dynamic and targetted role in trade and investment promotion.
This would also involve the strengthening of the network of Honorary Consuls, the Minister added.
Dr. Baugh made the announcement in the context of enhancing his ministry’s role in identifying foreign direct investment, and in so doing help diversify Jamaica’s sources of investment flows.
The Minister said that the strengthening of Jamaica’s existing missions to play a more dynamic and targetted role in trade and investment promotion would give Jamaica greater presence and visibility in certain international financial centres and markets, as it seeks to buffer the impact of globalisation, which has seen Jamaica’s trade preferences for commodities erode over the years, thus necessitating focussed attention not only on increasing Jamaica’s range of exports, but also on finding new export markets. Noting his ministry’s role in Jamaica’s market penetration efforts in the areas where Jamaica has a comparative advantage, such as entertainment, music and culture, and certain speciality products, he said that a more concerted effort was needed to benefit from the demand that is often based not so much on price but on the distinctiveness of products, citing Brand Jamaica, which already has a unique international flavour.
“We must capitalize on this so that small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in agro-industry, in handicrafts, and the fashion designer, are able to gain a foothold in the international market,” he argued.
To this end, he said the Ministry, in partnership with the relevant Ministries and agencies would explore and deepen relationships with other countries and regions, which are potential sources of trade and investment.
The Minister said this would require his ministry working very closely with other ministries, such as Industry, Commerce and Investment, and Tourism, as well as with Jamaica Trade and Invest. As an integral part of this co-operative effort, he said the missions overseas would have an expanded role in trade and investment promotion.
“We want to be in a position of not only representing government policy overseas through negotiations and discussions at the bilateral, regional, and multilateral levels, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade should also be in a position to represent the country’s farmers, manufacturers, and service providers in a more tangible way,” the Deputy Prime Minister asserted.

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