No more regional talk shop!

No more regional talk shop!

JMEA head expects greater collaboration among regional manufacturers from new CMA

Business reporter

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

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Hours before the official signing off for a Caricom Manufacturers Association (CMA), Richard Pandohie, president of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), has hailed the formation of the impending entity as a progressive step but said he hopes that it will not become another regional talk shop but one that will effectively allow for the collaboration of regional manufacturers.

“I hope the CMA does not become another regional talk shop, God knows we have enough of that. I hope the CMA will bring real benefits to the regional productive sector and play a role in advancing our competitiveness through integration, research and innovation, linkages and human resources development,” he said in response to questions from the Business Observer.

“At a minimum, I hope we will advocate successfully to get pass the nonsense of the obstacle to free movement of our labour resources in the region,” he told the Business Observer.

The CMA is expected to provide strong representation to achieve economic development and growth in Caricom especially among manufacturers—providing them with regional representation and a unified voice on common issues surrounding manufacturing and export.

The key areas of focus for the body will include, but not limited to, trade advocacy, environment, multi-sector development, innovation, labour and human resource development in the regional community.

Pandohie, who spearheads the local association, said that his entity is definitely looking forward to reaping the benefits from being a part of a larger group especially in the areas of advocacy, resolution activities and market promotion.

“We could, for example, decide that as a region we want to do a trade mission to Europe— being part of a bigger group could mean more effective cost sharing and give us better visibility. Too often, on issues of trade negotiations, there is limited participation by the manufacturers, now with this partnership we can better participate in trade negotiations and also give better support to our regional ministers of foreign trades,” he explained.

He admitted that while they have failed miserably as individual associations to partner in securing greater value for the region, he hopes that “the CMA will become a channel for more robust data gathering and sharing” further noting the formation of the regional association as a good move which represents an improvement in maturity.”

In a virtual signing ceremony to be held today six regional associations are expected to ratify the commissioning of this overarching body, these include the manufacturers associations in the countries of Barbados, Trindad and Tobago, St Lucia, Guyana, Dominica, and Jamaica.

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