Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, says there are numerous possibilities for significant expansion of trade and investment with Japan, as a result of a longstanding 40-year relationship with that country.
Speaking at a special working luncheon hosted by JAMPRO for a visiting Japan-CARICOM Economic Mission to Jamaica, at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston on Tuesday (November 24), Dr. Tufton cited the development of Jamaica’s coffee industry as an example of the areas of cooperation between the two countries.
“I say, without contradiction, that the development of our coffee industry has been largely due to the contribution of Japanese investors to that industry over the past 30 years, and it has benefitted the industry significantly, (as) 80 to 85 per cent of Blue Mountain coffee is shipped to Japan,” the Minister stated.
He said this clearly indicated that, with the right combination and through cooperation, a platform could be created for building other critical areas of investment opportunities.
Noting that Jamaica is a globally recognised brand, Dr. Tufton cited the need to leverage this advantage, in a way which creates value for the stakeholders, and the country, in general. He said strategic partners were being sought to help convert Brand Jamaica into a value proposition.
“I think that Blue Mountain coffee is a perfect example on which to benchmark, and to seek to find other critical strategic alliances that could lead to creating value from a recognition that already exists,” he argued.
He said that Jamaica is strategically positioned, geographically and through trade arrangements with North America, to take advantage of that continent’s markets.
“We are seeking a platform where you are located, not just for Japanese consumers, but for consumers that you serve within that region,” Dr. Tufton said.
He explained that Japan has been able to develop the expertise to drive efficiencies, in terms of systems and processes, while Jamaica is still trying to find its way in that space.
“There are many possibilities (and) there is a lot of potential. It is for us, now, to seek to facilitate the understanding,” Dr. Tufton contended.
The 14-member trade Japan/CARICOM Economic Trade Mission, which comprises Japanese government officials, local embassy staff and private sector stakeholders, are engaged in activities aimed at highlighting areas of economic collaboration and Japanese investments over a three-day period, which began on Wednesday November 23, 2011.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter