First Look

JMA speaks on comments made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association | 2013-06-10 00:00:00

The Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) is disturbed by in our opinion the careless comment made by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, A.J. Nicholson that “this thing about quarrelling with Trinidad every day has to stop”. Minister Nicholson has either forgotten which team he is on or blatantly disregards the people he is supposed to represent.  

Manufacturers are not picking on Trinidad. There are legitimate issues, which are negatively affecting the competitiveness of the productive sector. “When there are breaches or suspected breaches, as a sector, and as a country, it is our right to call for an investigation into these matters, to ensure that local products are not being placed at a disadvantage to goods from Trinidad entering Jamaica duty free.  When products are repackaged and do not meet the rules of origin standards then, we make no apology, when we say this cannot be called manufacturing”, states Brian Pengelley, JMA President.  

Pengelley further states that “the discriminatory pricing of electricity and penetration of the Trinidadian market are long standing issues for which we have requested regional representation. However, we are not idly sitting by and bickering.  The manufacturing sector is diversifying both our export products and export markets”.
We are guided by the Treaty of Chaguaramas to ensure that we are competing on a level playing field with our CARICOM trading partners. When the rules are violated, remedial action must be taken. We cannot allow Trinidad or any Caricom partner to go unchecked and we expect the government to be receptive to the concerns of the manufacturers that want to contribute more to Jamaica. We must address trade disputes with regional partners, whose practices impacts investment, the retention and creation of jobs as well as the earning of foreign exchange and government revenue.
The confusion within the Government is unacceptable. One Minister is saying one thing and another Minister, something else. What is really the position? Minister Nicholson needs to start singing a different tune, or step aside for someone who is a team player, understands issues and addresses them rather than wishing them away.

Posted By :Rochelle Roye

Company Name : Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association

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