Jamaica Remains Committed to Free Trade

KINGSTON (JIS) Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, says Jamaica remains committed to free trade and liberalisation.

He noted that the country’s record in supporting open commerce and reducing trade barriers was one of the most impressive in the developing world.

“Jamaica, by its own initiative and through its own commitment to trade openness and the elimination of trade distortions, has systematically liberalised our economy,” the Governor-General stated, while addressing the closing session of the International Trade Expo on Tuesday (October 11) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

He noted that while Jamaica may not have reaped the full benefits of openness, “we have not flagged in our commitment to it, as a principle. Our degree of trade openness to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as a small island economy,  is very high (at) 90 per cent.”

Free or open trade refers to the interchange of goods and services (but not of capitalor labour) unhindered by high tariffs, non tariff barriers(such as quotas), and onerousor unilateral requirements or processes.

The Governor-General praised the Consular Corps of Jamaica (CCOJ) for organising the expo, which he said, was “indicative of our recognition that trade is not just a vital component of economic development, but of harmonious diplomatic relations.”

“I congratulate and commend all participants and hope you will be back next year for a bigger and even better expo,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Governor-General’s Trophy for the best booth went to the High Commission of the Republic of South Africa. Second place went to the Consulate of Turkey, which received the ScotiaBank Award, while the Embassy of the United Mexican States received the CCOJ Award for placing third.

CCOJ consolation prizes went to the Consulate of Poland; British High Commission; Consulate of Guyana; Embassy of Belgium; and Embassy of the Republic of Senegal.

The CCOJ also presented special awards to the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Transport and Works.

The previous evening, appreciation awards were given to members of the VIP sector of the Norman Manley International Airport and musician and performer Keith Lyn, for their dedicated service to the CCOJ. In addition, organiser and co-ordinator of the Expo, Horace Abrahams, was also rewarded for his work.

Staged by the CCOJin association with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the three-day International Trade Expo was held  under the theme : ‘A world of opportunity is about to open up’.

The Consular Corps of Jamaica was established in 2002 to encourage trade between sending and receiving states.  Currently, the organisation has a membership of 42, which includes honorary and career consuls.