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Jamaica has a recognizable brand that can be maximized to the greater benefit of the country, Executive Director, Caribbean Export Development Agency, Pamela Coke-Hamilton says.

“The name itself is a brand and it is an incredibly recognized brand…what we produce can sell purely on the basis of a brand that has been developed and that has recognition across the world. So take advantage of that,” she told small and medium-sized business owners at the opening of an export marketing workshop at the Hotel Four Seasons in Kingston,on October 22, 2012.

Mrs. Coke-Hamilton said Jamaican businesses have the opportunity to take advantage of the free trade agreements and in particular the Caribbean Forum-European Union (CARIFORUM–EU)Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was signed in 2008, “but to date, has been completely underutilized by CARIFORUM enterprises in accessing the European market with the exception of the Dominican Republic.”

The CARIFORUM (an amalgamation of CARICOM and the Dominican Republic)  is expected to access, through the EPA, a more open EU market for goods, services and investment from the grouping. The primary objectives of this bilateral agreement are promotion of sustainable development, eradication of poverty, and the gradual integration of CARIFORUM into the world economy.

“Jamaica really has no excuse, because we are pretty large and we have the capacity to enter that market to really take advantage of the opportunities out there,” Mrs. Coke-Hamilton said.

She argued that Jamaica is on the right path towards fostering and enabling an environment where small and medium-sized businesses can thrive with the support of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce; Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica Exporters Association, the Jamaica Coalition of Service Industries, among others.

The Executive Director said the export and marketing training workshop is an important initiative enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become more export ready and capable of taking advantage of the EPA.

The five-day export and marketing workshop, organized by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, in collaboration with JAMPRO, the EU and the German state agency, GIZ, seeks to address preconditions for international trade, and introduces the most important regulatory issues for exporters.

Tools, examples and exercises of international market research, branding and packaging, costing and pricing, will be presented and discussed, and relevant marketing and trade promotional tools will also be highlighted throughout the week-long event.