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More than 600 foreign buyers at Expo Jamaica 2014

Friday, April 04, 2014 | 3:42 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – A record number of over 600 buyers from 28 countries are participating in Expo Jamaica 2014, the Caribbean’s largest trade show, which got under way on April 3, at the National Arena in Kingston.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who officially opened the event, said the expo is happening at a time of improving macro-economic stability in the country, supported by positive ratings by the international rating agencies.

She noted however, that while there is evidence of growth, especially in the agricultural sector, more needs to be done to grow the manufacturing and export sectors.

Simpson Miller said the time has come to deepen intra-regional trade among Caribbean neighbours, as well as build new trade networks and routes into global export markets.

“We understand that the forces of globalisation have changed the face of business everywhere. For Jamaica to prevail and to become more competitive, we have no choice but to fully integrate our economy into global value chains for the production and delivery of goods and services around the world,” she said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the net effect of this is that the Jamaican economy will become more open for greater levels of inward investments and international business.

“This can have a transformative effect on the local business landscape, generating new opportunities for local businesses of all sizes, and creating more jobs and more opportunities in the economy,” she said.

She congratulated the organizers of Expo Jamaica 2014 for delivering a massive showcase of ingenuity and output, which proudly bears the label, ‘made in Jamaica’.

“When I look around this arena, my faith is renewed with the assurance that we have a strong entrepreneurial class in Jamaica that will, for the most part, choose to see the ‘glass half-full and not half-empty’. To you, I say, the Government of Jamaica recognises the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), the Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA), the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and all the other umbrella private sector groups as critical partners in achieving export-driven growth in the economy,” Simpson Miller said.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, said it is clear that the eyes of the global business community are turning to Jamaica, as the country seeks to become a regional hub for commerce and trade.

He welcomed the large contingent of buyers from Jamaica’s traditional markets of the United States of America, United Kingdom, and Canada, and as far away as India, Nigeria, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Norway, and the Czech Republic.

The Minister pointed out that Jamaica’s economic success relies heavily on manufacturing and exports, and his ministry looks forward to deepening its partnership with the JMA and the JEA.

“I look forward to many deals and contracts that will be sealed at this EXPO. It is quite apparent that the exhibitors pulled out all the stops this year to assemble quality displays of their products and services. I congratulate you on this, and I encourage all our buyers to capitalise on all the opportunities afforded by this great Brand Jamaica platform,” Minister Hylton said.

More than 200 booths have been set up in the National Arena to display the many products manufactured in Jamaica.

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