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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • JAMPRO, through its Export and Market Development Division, is assisting Jamaican exporters to capitalise on opportunities in the global marketplace and increase earnings.
  • Through the division, Jamaicans, who sell goods and services overseas, are able to access key services such as exporter registration and advisory support on export procedures.
  • Vice President of Export and Market Development, Robert Scott, notes that the division’s work is focused primarily on identifying the high opportunity products and markets, building the capacity of local exporters, and taking them into markets.

The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), through its Export and Market Development Division, is assisting Jamaican exporters to capitalise on opportunities in the global marketplace and increase earnings.

Through the division, Jamaicans, who sell goods and services overseas, are able to access key services such as exporter registration and advisory support on export procedures; export development, which includes export tools; as well as support in accessing financing and technical assistance to address export development needs, capacity-building training, and support in finding markets.

In an interview with JIS News, Vice President of Export and Market Development, Robert Scott, notes that the division’s work is focused primarily on identifying the high opportunity products and markets, building the capacity of local exporters, and taking them into markets.

Jamaica’s traditional export markets are United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Caribbean territories particularly Haiti and Cuba, and Panama as an access territory to Central America.

“In preparing our exporters, we try to look at those who are ready and work with them as best as we can to find the opportunities. For others, who are not quite ready, we help them to understand what the opportunities are, give them the information and channel their efforts,” the Vice President explains.

Among the various initiatives is Export Max, which seeks to facilitate 50 per cent growth in export sales and access to new markets for firms, as well as generate a minimum of 15 trade leads for companies.

Under the programme, customised enterprise development strategies are designed and implemented for participating companies, in order to improve their export business performance and competitiveness.

The first tranche of the programme: dubbed ‘Export Max: Enterprise Development for Growth Programme’ was launched in 2011.

Under the two-year initiative, a pilot group of 15 companies were provided with a range of business development and export promotion services that enabled them to penetrate new markets and collectively increase their export sales by 33 per cent representing $1.4 billion.

Encouraged by the successes achieved under the Export Max, JAMPRO introduced a successor programme called Export Max II in 2014. Twenty firms are benefitting under the initiative – 10 involved in agro-processing and services, and another 10 in non-food manufacturing and fresh produce.

Under Export Max II, the companies, over a two-year period will be facilitated in accessing mentorship support and individualised business coaching, capacity-building training, productivity audits and market penetration support.

Another major initiative, Mr. Scott outlines, is the ‘Step-by-step Guide to Exporting’ workshops, which take persons through the rudiments of the export business.

“Persons have an interest in exporting but what we find is that the knowledge is low and the fear is high, so the step-by-step workshops take them from the very beginning…what they need to do, how do they prepare an invoice, how to access various markets and this is something that we do twice for the year in Kingston and Montego Bay,” he informs.

Other workshops have been conducted on shipping and logistics as a means of sensitising exporters about their role and how they could benefit from the Logistics Hub Initiative.

A ‘Franchising for Brazil’ workshop was also held ahead of the country’s participation in the Rio Olympics this August.

“We recognise that the barriers to entry in Brazil are very high. Because of the Olympics and because it is a market of almost 200 million persons, people want to get in so we want to hold their hands to say ‘this is the approach you need to take to get in that market,” Mr. Scott explains.

The workshop involved partnership with Ernst and Young, Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, and the Jamaican Embassy in Brazil.

JAMPRO has also led several trade missions to various countries to give exporters the opportunity to meet, have dialogue and network with interest groups and stakeholders.   In recent times, there have been missions to Cuba, Canada, United States and Haiti.

Mr. Scott says JAMPPRO has also initiated the Study Jamaica Programme “where we are looking to export our education services.”

“This internationalisation of education will bring persons from overseas to come and study here in Jamaica,” he points out.

Mr. Scott notes that JAMPRO’s work in the area of trade promotion and export development has not gone unnoticed as the entity has been recognised by the International Trade Centre in 2004, 2008 and 2012, as the best trade promotion organisation in a small island developing state.

“We have earned a rating of being very good and in many cases, other newer trade promotion agencies have been referred to JAMPRO. From time to time, we do receive guests, who want to know how it is that we do what we do. Another mark of success is that we have larger and established companies coming to us for support and asking us to help them to get to markets,” he boasts.