JIS News

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, K.D. Knight has said that he hoped to hold talks with Colombia on the recent World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling, which deemed illegal the preferential trade arrangement enjoyed by African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.The Minister who was addressing a Jamaica/ Colombia breakfast meeting at the Hilton Kingston hotel yesterday (August 12), said he hoped to explore means by which both countries could strike some common chord in addressing the issue.”We have a particular interest in having some discussions with you in that regard relating primarily to the WTO challenge and the fact that an arbitration has made a ruling which will seriously affect ACP banana producing countries,” Mr. Knight told Colombian Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Carolina Braco who is in the island on a two day working visit.Turning to the issue of trade, he said Jamaica wanted to move away from traditional trade and instead focus more on services. An excellent sector in which to commence, he said, would be in the tourism sector.
“I am very pleased that there are already Colombian investors in this area and we want to encourage more investors and of course investment must be a two way thing so that as Colombian invests in tourism in Jamaica so too can Jamaicans invest in Colombia,” he said.
Mr. Knight added that Jamaica had expertise in tourism which could be shared with Colombia. “We would want our entrepreneurs to make a profit from something that we know something about,” he said.
Meanwhile in addressing the issue of security in both countries, Minister Knight informed the Colombian Minister that Jamaica was aware of the difficulties that Colombia had faced in the last few years as it related to the drug trade. “I am pleased to tell you that Colombia and Jamaica developed a very close relationship in dealing with this matter because we too here in Jamaica have had some difficulty from the drug trade. We can improve on the way in which we have been together fighting this horrible problem,” he said.
Mr. Knight also made mention of the negotiations of the Free Trade Areas of the Americas (FTAA) that have stalled. “I know CARICOM has a commitment to restart the negotiations and so too does Colombia. In the meantime, however what we have to do is to look at how we can strengthen our bilateral relations and during the course of our meeting later on we will deal with that,” he said.