Hylton looking for more investment opportunities with Cuba
April 30, 2015
As the relationship between the United States and Cuba continues to improve, Minister of Investment Anthony Hylton announced it was the “perfect opportunity to further build Jamaican brand awareness.”
To assure the success of the venture, the minister reckoned that JAMPRO’s role as brand developer is critical to ensuring that the Jamaican brand is associated with quality and high standards in the competitive Cuban marketplace.
In his address at the Post Cuba Trade Mission press briefing at the JAMPRO auditorium on Wednesday, Hylton explained that prior to US President Barack Obama’s announcement to normalise relations between the two countries; Jamaica was already “making preparations regarding the prospects for increased export and investment opportunities between Jamaica and Cuba.”
“The end of the over 50-year embargo of Cuba cannot come too soon. Concerning the embargo, it was not simply against Cuba though that was the objective. One unintended consequence has been the underdevelopment of economic relations between Cuba and its closest neighbours in the Caribbean, principally Jamaica,” contended Hylton.
He further argued that Cuba has strategic importance for Jamaica given its proximity, historical socio-cultural connections and ongoing trading relationships.
“Both countries have developed a deep bond of friendship, trust and cooperation that has redounded to the benefit of the people of Cuba and Jamaica,” he added.
Hylton indicated that over the years several Jamaican businesses have developed and maintained close relations to Cuba, through their participation at the annual Havana International Fair (FIHAV).
As Cuba’s largest and most important trade event, FIHAV attracts over 4,500 exhibitors and participants from more than 60 countries. It is one of the major exhibitions in the region, displaying high quality products from the Caribbean and Latin America.
“It was with this in mind that I led a joint public and private sector trade mission to Cuba,” said Hylton, adding that the interest of the private sector in the mission was demonstrated by the presence of several large and small local firms – as well as representatives of key umbrella business organisations.
Hylton further indicated that the bi-lateral business relations between the two countries were conducted on three levels: business to business; institution to institution; as well as government to government, which related to continued cross-ministerial dialogue.
“While in Cuba, we continued discussions for a strategic partnership with the Cuban Government and its economic entities. These discussions yielded the proposed establishment of a joint Jamaica-Cuba Business Council to foster and facilitate the development of economic relations between the two countries,” he noted.