Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (left) speaking at the launch of the National Export Strategy, Phase II at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on Thursday August 20. Listening intently are from left, Trade Administrator/CEO of the Trade Board, Mr. Victor Cummings; Advisor (Trade Competitiveness) Trade Division Commonwealth Secretariat Ms. Yinka Bandele; and Dr. Rashmi Banga, Adviser and Head of Trade Competitiveness Section, Commonwealth Secretariat.
Since the launch of the first National Export Strategy in 2008, Jamaica has significantly improved the time it takes to export agricultural produce, moving from 21 days to now one week. Additionally, in 2015 Jamaica moved up 27 places, from 85 to 58, in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking. The country also improved its performance in the Global Competitiveness Index, reaching a position of 86 out of 144 countries in 2014, when compared to 94 out of 148 countries in 2013. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says these strategic improvements in Jamaica’s competitiveness and export outlook are taking place at a time of greater economic stability for the country, supported by improving macro-economic indicators and positive ratings by the international rating agencies.
Mrs. Simpson Miller, who was speaking at the launch of the National Export Strategy, Phase II at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on Thursday August 20 said that her Administration is committed to a major and sustained increase in exports. She said that: “In order that Jamaica’s participation in global trade can significantly improve the lives of the Jamaican people, it is important to consistently strengthen our export capacity through a major and deliberate strategy.” She noted that the National Export Strategy (NES) is a major plank of Jamaica’s economic programme and overarching national development policy.
This second phase of the NES is focused on key sectors including Manufacturing, Mining, Film and Animation, Agro-processing and Information Technology Enabled Services. Notably, Mrs. Simpson Miller added that “We must also focus on the Jamaican Brand and growing global market demand for our foods, drinks, fashion, and fine art and craft.”
Commenting on the impact of globalisation on the need for competitiveness, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said that “globalisation has changed the face of business everywhere. For Jamaica to be truly prosperous, we must become competitive in trade.” She added that the country has “no choice but to fully integrate our economy into global value chains for the production and delivery of goods and services around the world.” This, she noted, will make the Jamaican economy more open for both greater levels of inward investments as well as increased exports.
The Prime Minister also commended several agencies, including the National Competitiveness Council for its extraordinary work towards a positive turnaround in Jamaica’s export outlook. She added that work is continuing apace on the creation of an improved trade facilitation regime, spearheaded by the Trade Facilitation Task Force. There have also been strategic improvements with the introduction of the Automated System for Customs Data, which speeds up Customs clearance and simplifies operations.
The Prime Minister acknowledged several entities that have played a key role in the launch of the second phase of the NES. “It has involved the Jamaica Exporters’ Association in partnership with the agencies of the State involved in the export trade facilitation process. These include JAMPRO, the Customs Agency, the Trade Board and other agencies of the Government,” she said. Mrs. Simpson Miller also recognised the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat, which was instrumental in completing the design and development of the strategy document for phase two of the NES.
Published Date: August 21st, 2015
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