Samuda says businesses not fully exploiting US preferential agreements


Minister of Industry Investment and Commerce, Hon Karl Samuda, has stated that there are several industries in which Jamaica could make use of preferential arrangements in the United States that are not being exploited.
Making reference to the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), Mr. Samuda said that Jamaica had “taken its eyes off the ball” with regards to fully exploiting that facility.
“There is the leather craft; there is the agro-industrial sector, peppers, spices, a number of products that can be made and would have preferential markets in North America that are simply not being engaged,” he said.
He urged the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) to try to educate small and micro-business owners about the many opportunities available, and said the Government would put in place systems to remove barriers preventing access.
Mr. Samuda was speaking at the opening of the JBDC’s Food Resource Centre on Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston, Saturday (October 23).
The Centre is a partnership between the JBDC and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) under the Kingston Urban Renewal Project (KURP) which began in April, 2008. It is primarily focused on fostering income generating opportunities in commercial food preparation for residents of the Central Kingston communities of “Tel Aviv” and “South Side”.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the JBDC, Valerie Veira, explained that it would specifically target persons who had received food preparation training under KURP, providing them with certified hands-on training and business development guidelines.
She also informed that food vendors and cook shop operators would receive training in food sanitation, menu development and business operations. Food processors that manufacture products such as jams, jellies, sauces and seasonings would also be able to conduct formulation and testing sessions under the guidance of the JBDC’s food technologists.
Ms. Viera described the centre as an “excellent” outfit, even more equipped than some local hotels and restaurants. She said the JBDC was very proud of the facility, as it would help some of Jamaica’s small operators “to move from doing a thing to doing business”.
During the launch, the JBDC also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Boy’s Town Vocational Training Centre. The MoU will allow the JBDC to refer clients for training, while the centre will be able to use the JBDC’s Food Resource Centre for advanced training.

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