Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the Government expects some major investments to arise from his recent trips to China and Singapore.
"As early as next month, we expect exploratory visits from at least three companies out of China, with at least one of them expressing a strong desire to establish a strategic partnership in locating their regional hub in Jamaica," Mr. Hylton disclosed.
He was speaking at a press conference at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Thursday (November 15), where he gave an update on the mission, which took place from October 25 to November 7.
The Minister said that by engaging China and Singapore early in Jamaica’s plans for a logistics hub, some solid partnerships have been secured. "This is underpinned by the fact that Jamaica will become an integral component in the international transshipment industry, as it will represent one of only two ports expected to be ready upon completion of the expansion of the Panama canal in 2015,” he added.
Mr. Hylton pointed out that there is “strong agreement and acceptance” regarding the opportunities and benefits to be obtained by the expansion of the Panama canal for both China and Jamaica. He said the strategic benefit that could accrue to both countries, with the development of a global logistics hub in the island, was acknowledged.
Turning to Singapore, he informed that the mission had benefitted from in-depth presentations on Singapore’s port systems and operations, which provided useful insight on modern practices and a grasp of global standards which exist in the logistics industry. Additionally, presentations were made on the country’s tax structure, which supports its transshipment operations.
“To top it off, the Singaporean government expressed is willingness to offer us a range of technical support, given their own experiences and well developed expertise,” he noted, adding that the Port of Singapore Authority had also indicated its interest in exploring opportunities in the further development and operations at Jamaica’s ports.
The purpose of the mission was to meet with counterpart Ministers in China and Singapore, with a view to deepening commercial and industrial relations between Jamaica and those countries; engage potential investors and promote investment opportunities in the proposed logistics hub and other sectors in Jamaica; as well as to gain insight and greater perspective on the development of Jamaica’s logistics industry.
Mr. Hylton said that these objectives were successfully achieved, as the mission team was able to complete a packed itinerary targeting potential investors across all focus sectors, and to present specific opportunities for investing in Jamaica
The Minister’s team included JAMPRO President, Sancia Bennett Templer; Chairman of the Factories Corporation of Jamaica, Clive Fagan; and Chairman of the Logistics Taskforce, Dr. Eric Deans.