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JAMPRO Promotes Stronger Trade and Investment Links with US Diaspora

Jamaica is ideally poised to take advantage of post-recession business opportunities and is eager to increase and strengthen trade and investment linkages with the United States for mutual benefit.

Miami, FL, June 06, 2010 --( The message that Jamaica is ideally poised to take advantage of post-recession business opportunities and is eager to increase and strengthen trade and investment linkages with the United States for mutual benefit was reinforced by JAMPRO President Sancia Bennett Templer in her recent address to members of the Diaspora at the Jamaica USA Chamber of Commerce (JAUSACC) Annual Recognition and Installation Luncheon in Florida.

“Despite the global financial crisis, Jamaica is still the place to do business. Many of the initiatives that are currently being pursued signal that Jamaica is ideally poised to capitalize on the post-recession opportunities, and is still a highly regarded location for investment and trade,” stated Bennett Templer.

She cited the institution of the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX), a key plank of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, as one such successful initiative. Bennett Templer indicated that the JDX, which enjoyed overwhelming support, has so far had a positive impact on the local business climate.

“Debt exchanges have been tried around the world, but the Jamaican initiative was the most successful of any such exchange in the world. This speaks to the alignment of the interests and positions of the public sector and the private sector. Already interest rates have started to trend down and we anticipate that this trend will continue,” she stated.

The JAMPRO President added that other initiatives currently being pursued include the rationalization of the public sector, comprehensive tax reform, drafting and implementation of measures to curb corruption and crime and the cultivation of a business friendly environment and supportive infrastructure. She noted that the nation viewed the economic downturn as not merely a crisis that we had to wait out, but as an opportunity to get the fundamentals of the economy right.

Bennett Templer highlighted continued growth and opportunities in the area of information and communications technology (ICT), in which JAMPRO-facilitated projects created 2,100 jobs last year and capital expenditure of J$500 million to date. New businesses/accounts were established in the areas of debt collection, telecommunications customer support, telesales and lead generation, timeshare sales, medical help line, advertising/market research and human resource outsourcing.

Speaking to the tourism sector, she indicated that JAMPRO facilitated investments worth 17.2 billion dollars in capital expenditure and created 4, 574 jobs last fiscal year - a clear indication that the sector remains very buoyant. She identified opportunities in the development of boutique hotels, attractions, spas, wellness facilities, retirement villages. Bennett Templer also made mention of the new Falmouth Pier and Casino Gaming legislation as exciting developments in the sector.

Among the big opportunities outlined by the JAMPRO head in agriculture were honey, lemongrass, pepper, pepper mash, yam and cocoa. She noted that based on research, possibilities exist within agro-processing for lucrative value-added products from crops such as yam, sorrel and lemongrass.

“I know many members of the Diaspora who own land back home, which may be lying idle, are looking for opportunities to invest in an agricultural venture. JAMPRO stands ready to share some of these profiles with you, and to facilitate your investments,” she stated.

On the topic on collaborating with the Diaspora, Bennett Templer cited JAUSACC’s signing of a Memorandum of Undertstanding (MoU) with JAMPRO last September, and more recently with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), as a positive move towards expanding the business relationship between Jamaica and the US. She also indicated that JAMPRO and JAUSACC have been working together on attracting buyers to Expo Jamaica 2010, which will be staged at the National Arena from June 17 to 20.

“Relationships such as this one between JAMPRO and the Jamaica USA Chamber of Commerce are critical to the establishment and maintenance of a strong presence in targeted markets, such as the US and North American market for Jamaican products…We thank you for your partnership and we look forward to growing and building this important relationship in our mutual interest.”

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Mark Thompson

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