Untapped Opportunities under CBI

Monday, 03 December 2012 10:00 Written by Douglas McIntosh

United States (US) Ambassador to Jamaica, Her Excellency Pamela Bridgewater, is urging Jamaica’s exporters to take fuller advantage of the provisions and opportunities available under the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI).

Under the agreement, the United States (US) offers special trade preferences for most Caribbean products being exported to that North American country.

Speaking at the Jamaica Exporters Association’s (JEA) 47th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the organisation’s Winchester Road offices in St. Andrew on Thursday (November 29), Ambassador Bridgewater said the CBI represents an “extensive opportunity” for Jamaica’s food producers, processors, and exporters to access the “single largest market” in the western hemisphere on a preferential basis.

“This access has the potential to generate foreign exchange earnings…create jobs, again…(and) contribute to national development,” she contended.

The Ambassador, however, lamented the failure of some stakeholders to undertake the necessary paperwork, through the Trade Board, which would facilitate duty-free shipment of their products into the United States.

Against this background, she urged JEA to help guide those stakeholders, in this regard, pointing out that “you (JEA)…have the power, to change that and I am counting on you to partner with us to expand Jamaica’s exports, under CBI”.

In noting that Jamaica is blessed with “centuries of knowhow” in entrepreneurship, Ambassador Bridgewater contended that exporters are in a “prime position” to build on this attribute and, thereby, generate the foreign exchange and job opportunities necessary for Jamaica’s” economic renaissance.

“We all know that this has to take place. We have to have an economic renaissance in Jamaica. And we…agree that this is paramount and everyone of you and every Jamaican must find a way to make this a reality.

“The country is ready for your leadership, as exporters…are you ready to lead? Brand Jamaica is on a mission and the USA wants Jamaica to succeed. Simply put, there are unexplored opportunities that need to be tapped…so let’s tap them together,” Ambassador Bridgewater said.

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