For 2013, the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce focused primarily on efforts to promote and implement critical deliverables in relation to the Logistics Hub Initiative.
The Ministry also continued to push initiatives to boost the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector, entrepreneurship and investment.
LOGISTICS HUB INITIATIVE
The Logistics Hub Initiative is geared towards achieving continued growth, fitting Jamaica into the global value chain and bringing significant investments to the country. The hub will allow Jamaica to capitalize on increased trade flows through the region, as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal which is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
MEETINGS, TALKS AND PROPOSALS
To date, several targets and activities have been achieved, including a Ministerial Mission to Canada; establishment of a multi-billion dollar private sector infrastructure fund; meetings with investors from China, Singapore, Germany, Canada, United States, Europe, Rotterdam, Kuwait and Dubai; proposals to build and operate Vernamfield airport from Canadian and Middle East investors, and for the establishment of several industrial parks.
MINISTERIAL MISSION TO CANADA
Minister Anthony Hylton led a mission to Canada from October 1 to 10 to discuss how both countries could benefit from increased trade opportunities through the Global Logistics Hub initiative. The Jamaican delegation met with Provincial and Federal officers, airport and port operators, as well as representatives from some of the companies doing the actual trading.
There were also round table discussions, investment fora, factory tours, meetings with Diaspora association members, media interviews, airport and port visits.
LOGISTICS HUB ESSAY COMPETITION
The Ministry also introduced the ‘Logistics Hub Essay Competition’ as part of the overall campaign to raise awareness and deepen the understanding of Jamaicans about Jamaica’s Global Logistics Hub.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
In terms of education and training, discussions have been held with various tertiary institutions and HEART Trust/NTA, to ensure modified and targeted training with measures to be implemented, to ensure that the Jamaican workforce and entrepreneurs can take advantage of the upcoming opportunities.
LAUNCH OF MSME & ENTREPRENEURSHIP POLICY
In October, the Ministry launched the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) and Entrepreneurship Policy, which seeks to guide the implementation of strategies to improve the local business climate and reduce some of the impediments which MSMEs encounter in doing business.
The document, which was tabled in Parliament in July, speaks to improving the business environment and increased finance to the sector; enhancing business development support; broadening the entrepreneurial and innovative base, and tackling cross-cutting socio-economic and environmental issues, such as women and youth in business, and persons with disabilities.
GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK
Jamaica, for the first time, joined the world in celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week from November 18 to 23. Spearheaded by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), the week was aimed at inspiring the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Jamaica, through local and national initiatives designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators, using the MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy as a benchmark to success.
The week’s activities included islandwide business clinics; an Open House at the JBDC’s Incubator and Resource Centre; a Business Start-Up Expo and a Capacity Building Seminar.
CONSUMER PROTECTION TRIBUNAL (CPT)
Early in the year, the Consumer Affairs Commission announced the establishment of a Consumer Protection Tribunal, to provide an alternative for aggrieved consumers to file claims in an easy, affordable and timely manner. The CPT is one of several provisions of the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act, and is expected to significantly increase consumers’ confidence in the system of redress.
The CPT members, who were appointed by Mr. Hylton, comprise representatives who are qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced in the areas of law, economics, consumer affairs, telecommunications, information technology, business, accounting, and public administration.
Trade Mission to the Dominican Republic
In September, JAMPRO led its first trade mission to the Dominican Republic to increase trade links between the two countries as well as foster a business-conducive platform between companies in both countries.
Some 15 participating companies from Jamaica, including a mix of small, medium and large entities met with a number of retail giants, including Grupo Ramos and Super Bravo, two of the largest supermarket chains in the Dominican Republic.
Opportunities Jamaica Business Link
Suppliers in the service and business sectors showed their offerings to local, regional and international buyers at the 2013 JAMPRO two-day Opportunities Jamaica Business Link at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from September 30 to October 1.
PROMOTING THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), in association with the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment hosted an ‘Authentic Jamaica Design Competition’, targeting artisans, designers, and producers within the craft sector.
The competition was aimed at increasing the diversity, quality, and standard of products available in craft markets and designated craft areas across the island, while promoting the importance of intellectual property protection of designs.
During the year, the Trade Board held a series of sensitization seminars to inform exporters and other interest groups about the benefits to be derived from the various trade agreements being administered. Dubbed ‘Out of Many Exports, One Better Economy’, the sessions broadened public awareness and encouraged an increase in export activity, particularly through trade agreements.
CARICOM market access website launched
Local exporters now have greater access to information on existing and potential markets within the Caribbean with the establishment of the CARICOM market access website in October, an initiative spearheaded by the Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA).
RESUSCITATION OF BAMBOO INDUSTRY
The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) has commenced a project to resuscitate the bamboo industry in Jamaica, which has the potential to significantly boost the economy and generate employment.
Included in the mix is a plan to supply the Ministry of Education with school furniture made from bamboo and to export some bamboo products.
SIPP REGISTRY AND BUSINESS SUPER FORM
On December 19, Minister Hylton launched the Security Interests in Personal Property (SIPP) Registry and a Super Form for ease of business transactions.
On January 2, 2014, persons could begin to register their collateral, including non-traditional assets.
Both instruments were implemented by the Government, through the Companies’ Office of Jamaica (CoJ). They form part of the Government’s business reform agenda, designed to enhance the investment environment and ultimately spur entrepreneurship and economic growth.
SIPP, also referred to as the National Collateral Registry, aims to facilitate financing for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
Published Date: January 10th, 2014
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