A delegation of 17 companies from Trinidad and Tobago made their way for a four-day visit Jamaica on a trade mission to take in construction, food and beverage, logistics, packaging and printing, chemicals as well as other sectors, is part of an effort to expand and promote bilateral export trade between the countries.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill, who welcomed the trade mission at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Monday, noted that Jamaica is an excellent place to do business. He said that business confidence is at an all-time high, up 18.3 points in the recent business confidence report, which is the single highest point level in 20 years.
The Minister cited Jamaica’s economic growth rate, as well as a trainable workforce, as major pull factors for investment. He noted that the economy grew by 8.2 per cent in the last fiscal year, and for the second fiscal quarter, which ends in September, the country recorded a growth rate of 4.8 per cent.
“We are training to make sure that when you come to invest, you have good people to work for you”, he said. “We have… 1.5 million people in the Kingston, Portmore, St Catherine area that speak English, very young and can be trained, will be trained and are being trained.
“So”, he went on, “we have the workforce that you can work with; we have an economy that is growing; we have the fact that people are being employed.
“Before the pandemic, at the end of 2019, we had 43,000 people employed in the business processing outsourcing (BPO) sector. We now have upwards of 55,000 and growing quite fast.”
Stating that Jamaica’s central bank and stock exchange are also well respected, Minister Hill went on: “This is a place that we are very happy that Trinidadians are coming.” He said that a team from Jamaica will be heading to the twin island and the Dominican Republic soon.
T&T’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon, called for a deepening of relationships among Caribbean countries.
“We must continue to make these relations seamless and to tighten the connectivity between us in all ways, business included…. We must trade with each other; we must be complementary in the trade that we do to ensure that trade benefits both sides,” she said.
President of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA), Tricia Coosal, said that the purpose of the visit is to “solidify relationships.”
She said: “TTMA always views Jamaica as [one of] our most valued trading partners in the region; however, we will all agree that this relationship is much more than trade. Today, it has expanded its tentacles to include investment, tourism and even cross-cultural mixing.”
She also noted that Jamaica offers multi-investment and business opportunities, as a result of geographical location, legal framework, economic stability and infrastructure - indicating that she hopes that the discussions, over the next four days, will be fruitful and will morph into partnerships and joint ventures.