Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw, has informed that condensed milk and clinker (used in cement production) supplied within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) “have [now] been afforded an additional layer of protection”.
Speaking in the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 11), he noted that this achievement has been realised “after a long, hard-fought battle over some two years with CARICOM”.
“This means an increased advantage to those companies supplying these products to the region. Consequently, imports of like products from outside the region cannot be granted any unilateral reduction in Common External Tariff (CET) without the agreement of all CARICOM Member States,” Mr. Shaw said.
He pointed out that this development also means that in the case of Seprod, for example, producers of condensed milk, “their over US$77-million investment has not been in vain”.
In the meantime, Mr. Shaw said that the manufacturing sector is projected to get a “significant boost” from the implementation of the National Five-Year Manufacturing Growth Strategy, which was tabled in Parliament in July last year.
“The goal of the strategy is to achieve $81 billion per annum in manufacturing output by 2025 – that’s a modest target; we’re going to beat it. We are going to make sure that we get closer to $100 billion as our target,” he asserted.
Mr. Shaw further informed that a Manufacturing Coordinator will be engaged shortly to drive the Growth Strategy’s implementation.
“We will be working closely with the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and all of the other relevant entities to make sure that we assist to move the road blocks wherever they are, so that we can make it easier to do business in Jamaica,” he said.
“We recognise that growth and expansion constitute the new normal for this sector. Going forward, the plan of action as recommended by industry stakeholders, includes greater emphasis on digitisation of the sector, improved systems for productivity, innovation, logistics and supply chains,” he added.