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The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) will this year be focusing its export promotion efforts on marketing niche products and on penetrating new markets.
Opening the 2010/11 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House, today (May 11), Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon, Karl Samuda, noted that during the last financial year, the economic downturn adversely affected demand for goods and services, resulting in a 30 per cent decline in global trade.
However, he said that despite a 40 per cent decrease in Jamaica’s non-traditional exports, there was an increase in the export of niche products.
The export of non-traditional food items increased in 2009, from US$118.7 million to US$119.5 million. In particular, cakes rose to US$13.6 million; baked products increased to US$10.8 million; and other fruits and fruit preparations grew to US$6.2 million. In addition, beverages and tobacco (excluding rum) increased by US$3.5 million, relative to 2008.
“JAMPRO’s clientele has primarily been comprised of exporters of these ‘recession-proof’ non-traditional exports. It is, therefore, no surprise that export sales facilitated by JAMPRO was $3.43 billion as at March 2010, or 98 per cent of the fiscal year target,” he said.
Mr. Samuda said based on the performance of these products, JAMPRO will continue to focus attention on the export of these and other niche products, many of which have been outlined in the National Export Strategy (NES).
“While traditional countries or regions will continue to be the focus of significant promotional efforts going forward, JAMPRO will build on the work of the NES by conducting ongoing market research to identify the specific local segments within international markets that have the greatest potential for Jamaican niche products,” he explained.
He said as part of the strategy to provide support for exporters in global markets, the Government has decided to establish a North American Regional Office, staffed by two investment and export promotions officers, operating out of Toronto, Canada.
Mr. Samuda said Toronto was chosen as JAMPRO’s North American base to make use of opportunities that might arise out of the upcoming CARICOM/Canada Free Trade and Development Agreement and the wealth of opportunities related to the Information and Communications Technology/Business Process Outsourcing (ICT/BPO) sector.
The government has also decided to re-establish the Jamaica Marketing Company Limited (JAMCO). It will facilitate and assist small Jamaican exporters to penetrate non-traditional export markets abroad, beginning with the United Kingdom (UK).
If successful, the company could expand its operations into other European countries, in order to take advantage of the opportunities afforded under the CARIFORUM/EU Economic Partnership Agreement.