KINGSTON, Jamaica – On March 8th Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, led a Trade Mission to Trinidad with over 23 members comprised of 12 private sector companies, 15 private sector representatives, 4 Government entities and 8 Government representatives forming the Jamaican Delegation.
This Mission ran for two days of (Business to Business) B2B meetings with Trinidadian companies and investors which is part of an expanding initiative envisioned by Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, with the support of JAMPRO, to build sustainable export opportunities both inside and outside the Caribbean region.
“This visit also re-enforces the principles underlying the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which promotes regional production of goods and services, attaining and maintaining food security, and bringing more success for our companies and thereby our population,” said Minster Aubyn Hill.
Sixty-four official B2B meetings were held during the networking sessions over the two days. In addition, delegation meetings were held with Sen. the Hon. Paula Gopee-Soon, Minister of Trade & Industry and Hon. Colm Imbert, Minister of Finance. Minister Hill also met with Vaugh Martin, Group Executive VP & Executive Chairman of Massy Gas Products, David Alfonso, a director of Massy Holdings and Arthur Lok Jack, Executive Chairman of Associated Brands to establish stronger business relationships and to highlight mutually beneficial business opportunities. Massy and Associated brands are large investors in Jamaica and employers of a large staff of Jamaicans.
This visit by Minister Hill reinforced the importance of increasing intra-CARICOM trade and investment and underscored how Trinidadian and Jamaican companies can further expand with complimentary logistics and supply chain integration. The Mission also included the staging of a Doing Business in Jamaica Forum and Business Networking Cocktail which was attended by over 100 businesspersons.
Trinidad imported over USD $8.5 million in food and beverage products from Jamaica in 2021 but exported USD $77.7 million to Jamaica in the same categories. While there exists a large gap in Jamaica’s overall trade figures with respect to Trinidad, it should be noted that the largest categories of products imported by Jamaica are mineral fuels, refined gas and oil and related chemicals. Plastics also make up a large portion of Jamaica’s imports from Trinidad and Tobago.
“The Jamaican Government will continue to implement policies and programmes to enable Jamaican businesses and entrepreneurs to export more goods and services to grow the economy. More export-driven trade delegations, led by the Ministry are a part of that thrust,” said Minister Hill. He added “This visit also sought to further promote supply chain integration in CARICOM countries like Trinidad and to bring more prosperity to our nations, provide joint venture opportunities, and reduce the food import bill in CARICOM. This would certainly help with Caricom’s plan to reduce the food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.”
Also accompanying the Mission was Mrs. Shullette Cox, President of JAMPRO, the government agency charged with export and investment promotion, who stated that “Jamaica has a great brand image that gives confidence to importers, distributors and consumers alike. They know that our suppliers are reliable and committed. We want to build long-term relationships with our Caribbean neighbours based on mutually beneficial trade arrangements and investment deals”.
“Trinidad and Tobago recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Jamaica on August 29, 2022, which seeks to resolve trade complaints between our countries in a timely manner and to facilitate closer trade cooperation between the countries and for the resolution of trade issues. This sends a strong message and inspires confidence that both countries are sincere about enabling more, easier and better trade opportunities.” Mrs. Cox said when asked about perceived impediments to trading with Trinidad.
The opportunities that Jamaica sees for increased export potential to Trinidad includes spices, sauces, milk, fresh produce, construction equipment and to explore further integration of our supply chains.
Steven Gooden, CEO of NCB Capital Markets Limited, by way of its Trinidad and Tobago-based subsidiary NCB Merchant Bank, a sponsor of the Trinidad Mission, stated “We are delighted to endorse the Trade Mission being led by Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill and NCB Capital Markets remains dedicated to promoting cross-border collaboration. Our partnership with JAMPRO builds on our previous support of the first Trade Mission to Guyana and we look forward to continued work with JAMPRO and the Jamaican Government in creating a more prosperous and connected Caribbean community.”
Jamaica also seeks to encourage further investments from Trinidad in the areas of value-added agribusiness, fresh produce agriculture, light manufacturing, SEZ development and hotels. Jamaica has been an excellent location for Trinidadian companies with operations here such as TGIFridays, Jamaica Biscuit Company Limited (JAMBISCO), Massy Distribution Jamaica Limited, Confectionery and Snacks Jamaica Limited, all of which have found sustainable success in Jamaica.
President Shullette Cox further emphasized the welcoming investment environment in Jamaica along with proven success pathways as reasons many international companies, including Trinidadian companies have found success. “We are looking forward to highlighting various sectors to Trinidadian investors, areas such as Agribusiness, Special Economic Zone development and hotel developments are ripe for direct investments and joint ventures with Jamaican companies.”
The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO)’s mission is to drive economic development through growth in exports and in investment. JAMPRO is an Agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce.