Regional productive sector expected to get big boost from new manufacturers' association

Regional productive sector expected to get big boost from new manufacturers' association

Business reporter

Friday, November 27, 2020

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The Caribbean earlier this week realised a historic achievement when the Caricom Manufacturers Association (CMA) was launched to provide advocacy and find solutions to problems that have long plagued the region's productive sector.

“This new entity will evolve into an entity tasked to provide the unified positions on matters that are regional in nature. Its primary goal of identifying and treating with issues that transcend any one territory will determine its future terms of reference," said George Naime, director of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturing Association (TTMA), during a virtual signing ceremony on Wednesday last.

Among some of the priority issues to be addressed by this Caribbean manufacturers association are those surrounding regional integration, free trade and the movement of goods across borders —much of which caters to the aspiration set out in the revised Treaty of Chaguramas.

Naime outlined some of the benefits to be derived from this new association as including the sharing of information and deploying virtual technologies, harmonisation on common policies and the promotion of products that showcase a Caribbean brand.

The development of common strategies and tactics for negotiations with third parties, easier movement of capital and equipment, increased export opportunities for members and shared participation at global trade events were also among others cited.

Jerome Miles, deputy president of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), who signed the agreement document for Jamaica on behalf of the local association and President Richard Pandohie, who was not present, deemed the timing of the birth of the CMA as prudent.

“With the whole world in turmoil due to COVID-19 and businesses continuing to look for ways to pivot and recover, the imperative and cooperation among like-minded regional friends and competitors will only result in improved wealth for our nationals as we strengthen our manufacturing base,” Miles said.

He said that with individual member states and the region at large only being able to command a small part of global market share, the Caribbean has to together do better in increasing its regional and international resilience and competitiveness.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw, speaking at the signing event, said that with the growing number of innovative manufacturers locally and across the region, a unified approach will definitely provide significant benefits in allowing the sector to tap into markets that are available globally.

“Let us target the world— China is interested in purchasing a range of things from Jamaica and the region and these include agricultural products that are processed and same thing in Europe. Let us work together to identify the opportunities and go for investment and growth,” he stated.

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