Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the Government’s Logistics Hub Initiative is vital in Jamaica’s transition to strengthening economic ties with Brazil.
“Without the logistics hub, we will continue to struggle with a small market (Jamaica), looking at a huge market (Brazil), and not being able to compete effectively,” he pointed out.
“With the logistics hub, we are talking about a deeper integration of Jamaica into the global economy, and with that, the movement of passengers globally, and the movement of goods globally…we’ll have the links between Brazil and Jamaica enhanced by movement of goods, passengers, and data,” the Minister added.
Mr. Hylton was speaking at a special luncheon hosted by Jamaica National Small Business Loans Limited, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on August 26, to provide a context for Jamaica and Brazil to dialogue on opportunities for trade and investment.
Mr. Hylton informed that he would be making an official visit to Brazil to continue discussions on potential partnerships for the logistics hub. He stressed that it was critical that these linkages be made, and that Jamaica intends to play its part.
The Minister also cited the critical role that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector must play in the success of the Logistics Hub. He urged the gathering of stakeholders to “pay very keen attention” to the MSME policy, and the follow-up actions that will emerge.
In his remarks, State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, said the event reflected some of the important steps that Jamaica has taken in South South co-operation, and the country’s relationship with Brazil. “It was not by accident that Jamaica established a full Mission in Brazil,” he said.
Mr. Brown noted that although the Jamaica-Brazil Chamber of Commerce was established in 2008, it did not receive ratification until a Mission was established in the South American country, and the first order of business was to give government support to the Chamber of Commerce.
“There is much trade that can be derived between the two partners…in particular, we have worked very closely on agriculture, where there is significant co-operation and best practice that can be derived,” he ssaid.
South South Co-operation involves the exchange of resources, knowledge, and technology between developing countries, also termed countries of the global South.
Mr. Brown pointed out that both governments are exploring the matter of enhancing travel, within the region.
He acknowledged also, that the logistics hub would be important to this issue as well. “We are not only speaking about cargo, but it also has to do with the movement of people…if we are able to address the issue of airlift, we will see a significant movement in terms of the engagement of Jamaica and Brazil, not only in terms of culture, but also in terms of trade,” he outlined.
Meanwhile, guest speaker, President of the Jamaica-Brazil Chamber of Commerce, Donovan McFarlane, emphasized the strength of the Jamaican brand, and the affinity that Brazil has with Jamaica’s culture, music, and sports personalities.
This, he said, helps to facilitate the awareness of the local tourism product. “Understand though, that success is only guaranteed through a joint effort with Jamaican businesses, hotels and the tourism sector,” he stated.
Mr. McFarlane called on local businesses and industries to join the membership of the Chamber of Commerce. “We are ready and we are equipped with the tools to show you the way to achieve success in business with both countries,” he said. He urged businesses to use the Chamber of Commerce as their “gateway” to doing business in Brazil.
For his part, Brazilian Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency, Antonio Da Costa E Silva, affirmed that there are “immense” opportunities for trade between Jamaica and Brazil, and that trade and tourism levels are below what it should be.
“In those areas as well as in investment, what I think we are lacking is better knowledge of what we are in each of our context …we have a lot of commonalities,” he stated, adding that a similar sister organization (Chamber of Commerce) should be established in Kingston, to develop closer ties.
The Ambassador said such an organistion would focus not only on trade, but also on joint venture investment, and partnerships to tap into other markets where Brazil may have assets, and those markets with which Jamaica is acquainted, such as the United States and Europe.