JIS News

Jamaica Trade & Invest (JTI) is moving to more effectively position the country to tap into emerging markets overseas. JTI President, Robert Gregory, told JIS News that there are a “number of emerging markets that present opportunities to us that we never had before.” “I can refer you to China as an example, I can refer you to Brazil, (and) I can refer you to India. Also, I can refer to Europe, now a conglomerate (of upwards) of 27 nations, many of them, in previous years, a part of the Soviet Union, but now presenting another face and another set of opportunities,” he said.
He noted that currently, Jamaica is in a good position to take advantage of new developments in the global marketplace, particularly in the emerging economies.
He pointed out that investments, primarily in infrastructure, have contributed significantly to the creation of an enabling business environment, which present Jamaica as an attractive destination for investments and other viable income-generating options.
Mr. Gregory’s argument is supported by the fact that Jamaica earned a record US$850 million in foreign direct investments in 2006, predominantly from tourism-related activities, with information communication technology (ICT) and agribusiness, also making fairly significant contributions. The figure for 2007, just after Christmas, was more than US$350 million.
“Our country is rated number one in the Caribbean for telecommunications infrastructure. Our investment in road infrastructure is also a very important aspect of our attractiveness for investments. Many of those hotel investments, what has really made them take off, is the fact that we are building the North Coast Highway (and) it is (now) easier to move from (the) Sangster International Airport (in Montego Bay) to whichever hotel on the north coast,” Mr. Gregory pointed out.
Additionally, he said, the creation of Highway 2000 has opened numerous possibilities, which did not previously exist, for both foreign and local investors. “It is now possible to drive from May Pen to Kingston reliably in 20 minutes or so. That makes a difference for developers, who can now contemplate a housing development in May Pen instead of being crowded up in Kingston. We could now have a whole set of satellite communities around the Corporate Area,” he noted.
In addition, he said: “You could have your factory or business located anywhere in Clarendon or Manchester, and reliably reach the Port of Kingston or any other destination in a half an hour or one hour.”
Expansion of the country’s two international airports as well as developments at the seaports, Mr. Gregory noted further, are key factors in enhancing Jamaica’s status as an ideal location for investments.
“These enhance our attractiveness for investments, both local and foreign, and are part of building this Jamaican economy that we are working towards creating, and ensuring sustained economic development through trade and investment, enabling an improved quality of life for our people,” he pointed out.
In the meantime, Mr. Gregory indicted that the agency will be increasing its presence in key and strategic locations abroad, and some overseas offices that are now closed, will be reopened.
“It is the intention of the current administration to expand our physical presence overseas. We have offices in Toronto, New York, Miami, Hong Kong, London, (and) Brussels. In previous years, we had a much wider network of offices than we do today, but some were closed for financial reasons. The current administration has indicated its intention to re-open some of our offices, strategically of course,” Mr. Gregory disclosed.

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