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After years of intense deliberations on the much-anticipated National Export Strategy, Government and stakeholders in the export sector have hammered out the final draft of the document to guide the all-important industry.
Stakeholders in the export sector today (March 17) assembled at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, to validate the final draft of the proposed strategy, ahead of the April 1 implementation date.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Karl, Samuda (seated), exchanges greetings with Chief Executive Officer of Ink and Toner Ltd., Edward Chin-Nook, at the validation session of the National Export Strategy, which is to be implemented on April 1. The function was held today (march 16), at the Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston.

The implementation framework has been painstakingly fashioned by the stakeholders in the export sector, as well as technocrats in the public sector.
It has already received the stamp of approval from the Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI) and the Jamaica Export Association (JEA).

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda (left), having a light discussion with Deputy President, Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI), Lisa Bell (second left) and the JTI President, Robert Gregory, at the validation session of the proposed National Export Strategy, which is to come on stream April 1. The function was held today (March 16), at the Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston.

President of the JTI, Robert Gregory, attributed the protracted preparatory period of the long-awaited document to the all-inclusive approach adopted by the JTI.
Describing the strategy as a road map for the sector, Mr. Gregory said it was characterised by inclusiveness, participation and the principle of stake ownership.
Mr. Gregory recalls that the journey to this stage was not easy, due in part to psychological and historical hurdles inherent in the productive, but lauded the participatory efforts of the stakeholders.
The JTI head sought to place the proposed export policy within the context of the times. He says changing systems and outlooks across the globe have broken down barriers and protection, leaving producers exposed in the global arena.
“Everyone has to be globally competitive whether you choose to produce for the local market, or you choose to export and produce for the local market, either way you have to be globally competitive,” Mr. Gregory asserted.
“There are people doing what you do, making what you make, who have access to your market and their goods are right beside yours on the supermarket shelves,” he added.
Accordingly, Mr. Gregory said the changing and challenging times demand that local producers have to be at the same quality, at competitive prices, because the consumer wants the best value for money.
Immediate Past President of the JEA, Marjory Kennedy, acknowledged that there is general consensus among stakeholders of the need for a national export policy to guide the development of the export sector.
She says the National Export Strategy seeks to contribute to growing the GDP, and increasing the sector’s contribution to the GDP, from one-fifth to one-third by 2013.
Other objectives include:Increasing the export sector’s contribution to overall employment generation;Achieving greater diversification of the export sector;Increasing the current value of non-traditional exports of goods by 50 per cent, by the 2012;Increasing volume and higher value addition; andIncreasing the contribution of service exports, with particular emphasis on developing the professional services.
The former JEA Head said the organization is assured of the commitment of Prime Minister Bruce Golding, and Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Karl Samuda, to the National Export Strategy.

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