Jamaica charts new economic course with National Export Strategy II

Kingston, Jamaica — With the vision of creating “a leading per capita export country known for its commitment to creativity, innovation and exceptional quality”, the Jamaican government has launched the second phase of the National Export Strategy (NES) to increase Jamaica’s exports and improve the country’s overall economic performance.

The strategy was launched last Thursday by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in Kingston.

Initially launched in 2009 as a joint effort by the private and public sector, the primary goal of the NES was to guide exports and reverse the decline in the balance of trade between Jamaica and its major trading partners. Phase one of the project identified numerous opportunities to expand this strategy to a more practical and market-driven approach; directly aligning Jamaica’s export goals and actions with global demands.

The refurbished strategy aims to build a stronger economy through priority sectors, while assisting Jamaican products access new markets and increase penetration of Jamaican products globally.

The prime minister emphasized the need of an urgent and cohesive approach to the achievement of these goals, noting that “The National Export Strategy (NES) is a major plank of Jamaica’s economic programme and of our overarching national development policy.”

NES2 introduces 195 targeted strategies and activities that will be executed by 35 agencies, across five priority sectors and five cross cutting areas over a four-year period to end in 2019. The priority sectors include: agro-processing and agro business, film and animation, mining, information technology enabled services (ITES) and light manufacturing.

Export financing, logistics, standards and quality, market access and capacity building are cross-cutting areas which the strategy suggests will guide and increase the export of Jamaican products.

The NES’ revamped approach was critical to rebuilding the nation’s economy, as exports were seen as “the lifeblood of any country” according to the minister of industry, investment and commerce, Anthony Hylton, who said, “For us in Jamaica it underscores a profound reality… NES2 effectively takes into consideration the current challenges faced in developing our export-centred economy and make allowance for the provisions critical to furthering the growth agenda.”

Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) president Diane Edwards shared the minister’s thoughts on the importance of export to the economy and stated that JAMPRO believed that Jamaica’s public and private sector stakeholders needed to take the strategy seriously to jointly reap the benefits of the programme.

“No one can succeed without a plan; we believe that the coordinated effort of a national export strategy is crucial to developing a market-driven and globally competitive export sector that reflects the input and concerns of all stakeholders. The strategy is deliberately designed for all stakeholders to benefit,” she said.

Purported as a practical roadmap for Jamaica, the NES2 has outlined set targets and deadlines across the various sectors and underscores moderate growth, increased output values and job creation as success indicators at the end of the period. Emphasis is placed on focusing Jamaica’s resources and skills in areas that have the greatest potential for international success.

These achievements will be monitored by the steering committee which comprises: the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce, JAMPRO, Trade Board Limited, Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA) and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

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