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Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, says Jamaica is not expected to be negatively impacted by the reported stockpiling of bauxite, alumina and other raw materials by China.

Speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly review briefing at the agency’s New Kingston offices on Wednesday (February 23), Dr. Hutchinson said China’s actions are not a “point of anxiety” for Jamaica, adding that these stem from the Asian nation’s “growing demand” for the materials.

China, which imports bauxite and alumina from Jamaica, is one of four countries, known as “BRIC”, deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development. This group also comprises Brazil, Russia and India.

“We expect that as the BRIC countries grow, and they are growing quite quickly now, they are going to be demanding the kind of raw material that we have always traditionally exported.We understand that all industrial countries want to have stability in the supply chain of their resources,” he said, while pointing United States’ 20-year stockpile of bauxite.

He added that such trends reflect the “economic realities” occurring in those countries.  “So, we don’t see their stockpiling as, now, representing a future drop in their demand. We see it as just being the way in which they try to smooth out their supply chain,” the PIOJ Head assured.  

Meanwhile, Dr. Hutchinson is of the view that Jamaica stands to gain significantly from the exponential growth, which China’s economy has been experiencing. He posited this view against the background of recent media reports that the Asian nation has surpassed Japan as the second largest global economy, behind the United States.

Responding to questions posed on the matter during the briefing, Dr. Hutchinson pointed to China’s pivotal role in Jamaica’s development, particular in the areas of road construction and agriculture.

He cited the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), and rice cultivation, as examples of collaboration between both countries.  He added that Jamaica stands to gain much from the Asian nation.

“There is much that we can learn from China, about how to modernise our industries, how to build global competitiveness, and how to reduce the time cost of moving to best practices. So, we see their growth as being…positive…for Jamaica, as we move forward and we also look forward to our continuing partnership with them,” Dr. Hutchinson said.

 

CONTACT: DOUGLAS McINTOSH