President of the Jamaica Exporters' Association (JEA), Vitus Evans, says an export-led focus is critical to positioning the Jamaican economy on a path of growth.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the National Export Strategy (NES) Engagement Series, held at Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), in New Kingston, on September 14, Mr. Evans said studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between successful exporting and a thriving economy.
"The export sector can contribute to employment, to increased foreign exchange earnings and to stronger sectoral linkages and rebuilding our communities," Mr. Evans pointed out.
The President argued that in order to achieve this, Jamaica must move beyond political differences and inertia, which have negated implementation of the National Export Strategy, developed some three years ago.
He further noted that while the private sector continues to advocate for a more business friendly environment and facilitation, it is also important that "we prioritise our needs and ensure that Jamaica’s limited resources are distributed appropriately to maximise impact, effectiveness and reach."
Mr. Evans argued that the JEA believes that strong public and private sector partnership is critical to developing the country's export prospects.
He said the private sector’s role in advancing Jamaica's export strategy is multifaceted, as it includes a wide range of functions, such as data gathering, export performance analysis, prioritising technical assistance and advocacy at various levels.
"As the private sector, we have to be much more involved. We must take ownership of the initiatives we have agreed to; we must be convinced that our businesses depend on the successes of the strategies and we must work collaboratively to realise the successes of the strategies," he added.
The President said the partnership between JAMPRO and the JEA on the development of the NES is a good example of public/private partnership. "However, we must forge other public/private partnerships in order to co-ordinate our ability to fully implement the strategy," Mr. Evans emphasised.
The NES engagement session was the first in a series of discussions being held with key stakeholders to identify and develop initiatives to advance Jamaica's export sector.