PM Highlights Areas to be Strengthend in Manufacturing


Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has asked Minister of Industry and Commerce, the Hon. Karl Samuda, to meet with the Jamaica Manufacturer’s Association (JMA) to develop a marketing framework, that incorporates the brand Jamaica campaign.
This is necessary, Mr. Golding said, to address a number of areas that need to be tackled and strengthened, in the sector, to allow for greater competitiveness of Jamaican products in the global marketplace.
Mr. Golding, who was addressing a meeting with representatives of the JMA at Jamaica House today (Oct. 18) noted that one of the challenges to this is difficult trade negotiations, which has taken “torn away” the remaining areas of protection for local producers.
He said the situation is particularly difficult for countries such as Jamaica, as, “we are being asked to open up our market, in return for access to markets that we cannot access. Some of it (is) due to our own fault, because we have not developed the capacity to access those markets, but also because the pressure of global competitiveness is so intense that it is going to be- in some categories- virtually impossible for us to become competitive”. In light of this, Mr. Golding said, one of the things that needs to be done is to find a niche in the global marker, as penetrating these markets, is going to be critical to survival and success of the manufacturing sector.
The Prime Minister proposed that a marketing structure be established, as a joint effort between the Government and the private sector, to identify the areas in which Jamaica has a competitive advantage, and explore what needs to be done to strengthen these areas. He stressed that such a structure should include the brand Jamaica thrust.
The Prime Minister further emphasized that care had to be taken not to take a welfare approach to manufacturing. However, he said, a policy has to be created that gives the necessary priority to the development of the sector.
Meanwhile, in agreeing to the partnership, Past President of the JMA, Doreen Frankson emphasized that manufacturers who cannot compete internationally, can compete locally, and that a national policy-driven programme should be developed. This, she said, as the country’s food security is threatened by the high percentage of imported products, some of which are improperly or inadequately labeled.
Among the other issues raised in the meeting is the need for better packaging, tax incentives, workforce capability, and targeted assistance from the HEART Trust/NTA.

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