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His Majesty, King Juan Carlos I, of Spain, has said that since the end of the 1990s, the Spanish private sector has spearheaded an impressive investment process on the island, resulting in Spain being one of the leading foreign investors in Jamaica.
“The high level planned investments will not only contribute to modernising and energising the Jamaican economy, particularly its tourism industry, but also creating employment. Such investments illustrate the confidence of Spain’s business sector in Jamaica,” he said.
His Majesty was addressing a special joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament, on February 17, after his arrival with Queen Sofia, for a two-day State visit.
He assured that his country’s businesses have “come to stay” in Jamaica, with a commitment to the sustainable development of the island, and its tourism industry.
His Majesty noted that Jamaica and Spain share points of view and interest in their respective foreign policies, providing constant mutual support in various forums. “Jamaica can count on Spain’s understanding and assistance at the international level, as a friend, and partner,” he said.
The King pointed out that with Jamaica’s decisive support, Spain has consolidated an institutional framework for political dialogue with the Caribbean region, during the Spain-CARICOM Summit, which was held last July in Madrid. He noted also, the second meeting of the joint Spain- CARICOM Commission, hosted in Kingston, in 2006, which produced an ambitious co-operation programme.
His Majesty cited the essential role that Jamaica has played in regional integration, through CARICOM, pointing out that this is one of the most ambitious and advanced processes for regional convergence anywhere in the world, and a source of inspiration to other territories.
He noted that the recently signed Economic Partnership Agreement between CARIFORUM countries and the European Union, would facilitate trade flows and create a favourable climate for investment and development.
“We also welcome the increasingly close ties of the Caribbean countries, with your neighbours in Latin America. The recent Summit in Salvador de Bahia, in December 2008, the first between the two regions at the highest level, deserves our fullest support, since it brings together two regions with which Spain enjoys privileged ties,” he said.
His Majesty said he looked forward to the visit of Prime Minister Bruce Golding to Spain next year, for the Fifth European Union Latin American and Caribbean Summit.