Jamaica and the Caribbean must adopt new measures to ensure competitiveness

(JIS) – Minister of Industry and Tourism, Aloun Ndombet Assamba has said that with new and powerful trading blocs emerging in Europe, China and the Americas, Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean had no option but to adopt new and responsive regional measures to ensure their survival and competitiveness.

Mrs. Assamba pointed out that due to the process of globalization, the world as we knew it was rapidly changing, and the need for a structured partnership through the implementation of the provisions for economic, financial harmonization and co-operation as outlined in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, was urgent.

This partnership, she said, must engage not only government but also organizations such as manufacturers associations, and chambers of commerce, in order to improve sector performances and the economies.

The Minister was speaking at the seventh annual Regional Manufacturers’ Association meeting, which was hosted by the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) at its Duke Street offices in Kingston, on Wednesday, September 28.

“The implementation of the provisions for economic, financial harmonization and co-operation as outlined in the Treaty lends itself to the fostering of an entirely new partnership relationship among the regional private sector, labor movement, the institutions of civil society, tertiary institutions, and respective governments,” the Industry Minister said.

Quoting one of the provisions of the Treaty, the Minister pointed out that: “The Community shall pursue the negotiation of external trade and economic agreements on a joint basis.”

The Revised Treaty, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and also other Caribbean regional agreements therefore, represented the region’s core strategy in its efforts to meet the challenges of globalization and to facilitate the economic and social development of member states, Mrs. Assamba said.

“The economic integration as contemplated by the CSME will afford the region the benefits of greater critical mass with consequential benefits of pooled resources, an expanded market of approximately 15 million persons as well as access to inflows of new capital, entrepreneurship and technology in the form of new businesses, acquisitions and joint ventures,” she noted.

Mrs. Assamba said that with the full implementation of the CSME, there would be improved ability to recruit skilled workers from across the region, and pointed out that benefits to the economy would also come from an enhanced regional competition and standards policy to reduce instances of unfair distribution and pricing practices.

“Too much is at stake for the region’s productive and export sectors to not collaborate and maintain strong partnerships in order to bring greater certainty and transparency in the rules governing trade, and to ensure that the developmental objectives for the competitiveness of our economies are realized,” she said.

“We must put regional rivalries aside and embrace the opportunities that are offered with geographic concentration of our productive enterprise and take advantage of our deep cultural and historic linkages.

As a bloc, we have a basis for stronger and more effective negotiating and lobbying force than individual territories acting on their own,” the Minister stressed.

This approach, she said, had helped the region to win recognition of important principles, such as the need for special attention to the situation of smaller economies in the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and the recently concluded Fifth World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference.

“The fact is, in a region where resources are limited; the benefits of pooling efforts cannot be overstated. It is in this context that the theme of the meeting: ‘The Importance of Co-operation for Enhanced Trade in the Region’, resonates,” the Minister said.

She pointed out that it was a well known strategy in international relations, that weaker nations moved to take positions on a group basis that they would be “hard pressed” to do individually.

“This is clear in our CARICOM trade approach. Unity is strength, especially when deepened by alliances with others. On our own, it is impossible to cover the various negotiating theatres effectively.

However, as a group, CARICOM can attempt to do more,” she said, pointing out that the FTAA working groups provided a clear example where instead of fielding national representatives for every group, regional states relied heavily on regional led representation.

“The regional and collaborative approach to shaping international trade and our international negotiating agenda is therefore not a choice, it is an imperative,” the Minister emphasized.

Related Articles

Back to top button