KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jamaica has welcomed a trade delegation from Trinidad and Tobago, indicating that the island is an ideal location for investments from the oil-rich twin island republic.
Industry, Investment, and Commerce Minister, Aubyn Hill, told the trade mission headed by his Trinidad and Tobago counterpart, Paula Gopee-Scoon, that business confidence here 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 mission, comprising 17 companies spanning the span of 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.
The mission will be here until Thursday, and Hill 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 percent in the last fiscal year, and for the second fiscal quarter, which ends in September, the country recorded a growth rate of 4.8 percent.
“We are training to make sure that when you come to invest, you have good people to work for you. We have… 1.5 million people in the Kingston, Portmore, St. Catherine area that speak English, are very young and can be trained, will be trained, and are being trained.
“So, 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 BPO sector. We now have upwards of 55,000 and growing quite fast,” he added.
Minister Hill said that Jamaica’s central bank and stock exchange are also well respected, noting, “this is a place that we are very happy that Trinidadians are coming,” he said, adding that a mission from Jamaica will be heading to the twin island and the Dominican Republic soon.
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 “our purpose here is to solidify relationships.
“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 said, adding that Jamaica offers multi-investment and business opportunities as a result of geographical location, the legal framework, economic stability, and infrastructure.
“The country is identified as one of the fastest-growing economies in the Caribbean. An examination of the overall trade statistics between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago shows trade between the two countries steadily improving over the years.
“Various goods are exported to Jamaica from different sectors in Trinidad and Tobago, such as food and beverage, construction, printing, and packaging. The statistics also show positive growth in the trade of goods and services from Jamaica, and investment flows, as well, into Trinidad and Tobago over the last couple of years,” she noted.
Coral said she hopes that the discussions here will be fruitful and will morph into partnerships and joint ventures.