Kingston, Jamaica (JIS) — The Jamaican Embassy in Venezuela is seeking to strengthen business ties between the island and the South American country.
Ambassador to Venezuela, Sharon Webber, said that Trade and Tourism are significant areas which the embassy will be promoting.
“Even though trade with Venezuela remains quite limited at this time, the potential is significant. It’s a market of some 30 million people. It’s close enough to Jamaica. There is potential for trade and tourism and they can be developed in the years ahead,” she said in an interview with JIS News.
Ambassador Webber said the embassy is also promoting opportunities for Jamaican businesses in Venezuela through the PetroCaribe initiative.
PetroCaribe is a programme of the Venezuelan Government to support the energy and development needs of Caribbean states and other countries within the Americas. It allows the countries to purchase oil from Venezuela on preferential payment conditions. Recently, the countries commemorated the 10th anniversary of the signing of the agreement, which began in 2005.
Ambassador Webber said PetroCaribe is a very important source of financing for Jamaica.
“It is a very unique arrangement and one which offers opportunities for Jamaica and therefore one of the priorities here at the embassy is to seek to extract as much benefit as possible to promote Jamaica as aggressively as possible,” she noted.
“So, this is fertile ground for Jamaica, for businesses, for individuals to pursue greater contact with South America, and Venezuela is an excellent launching pad,” she added.
Webber told JIS News that the historical and cultural ties between the two countries have been “very positive,” citing the recent opening of the Simón Bolívar Cultural Centre, downtown Kingston, to promote Latin American culture.
She noted that despite the differences in language, Jamaica’s culture is very popular in Venezuela.
The Ambassador, however, acknowledged the need for greater exchanges. “With more persons learning Spanish, we hope that in the years to come we will see greater exchanges, greater interaction between individuals and groups at the non-governmental level,” she said.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and Venezuela.