Jamaica good for investments, says minister
LONDON: Senator Aubyn Hill, Jamaica’s minister of industry, investment and commerce, has promoted the island as a good place to do business as “it is the only country in the Western Hemisphere with a post-pandemic positive economic recovery rate”.
He highlighted that Jamaica’s GDP was higher than it was in 2019; debt to GDP was also lower than it was in 2019, and the island’s unemployment numbers are at their lowest since the start of these statistics being counted.
He also cited the recent upgrade of Jamaica’s credit rating from B+ to -BB by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings as a strong indication of this steady economic growth.
Senator Hill was speaking at a cocktail reception at the Jamaica High Commission during his two-day ministerial trade mission to London last week. Among the guests were representatives from various UK industries, government officials and the diplomatic community.
Following a welcome address by Laurence Jones, head of JAMPRO’s European regional office, Senator Hill said his visit to the UK was a continuation of his trade missions earlier this year to the USA and Canada.
He said: “I do these missions because businesses can’t stay in a country and get good international markets. You have to go after them. We have to negotiate with people to get new markets to export our products to, and also encourage investments into our country.
“We have great services to offer. Just recently, I took 16 local IT companies to Canada and we now have contracts for these Jamaican IT companies in Canada, the United States and across the Caribbean.
“We are looking at various ways to grow the economy and, in the UK, I will be meeting with potential investors in our food, film and cosmetic industries. We have products and raw material that people must use, and that’s why I take business people with me.
“We want consumers to insist that only genuine Jamaican products are in this market, as it will help grow our agribusiness and raw material industries.
“Jamaica is a place that people see as good for investment. We have at least 20,000 new hotel rooms that will be available in the next three to five years, so Jamaica is changing. However, we can cut our expenses as much as we want, bring down our debt to GDP, but, to be wealthy, we must grow our export.
“Jamaica’s population is three million and we cannot sell to three million people that have a relatively low GDP to become a wealth country. Small countries tend to depend on the richer countries and that’s why we have to export, exponentially, a great deal more.
“You don’t need to have a great land mass like the United States, China and Russia to be wealthy; you just have to have smart people.
“We are about creating wealth, the UK is about creating profits and wealth, we want to work with you and that’s why I am here in London to make sure we get more business and more markets. Come and invest in Jamaica, the price is right,” the investment minister said.
Senator Hill was accompanied on the UK trade mission by JAMPR’s President Shullette Cox and Kelli-Dawn Hamiliton from the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority. Other agency representatives who accompanied the minister were from the Jamaica Business Development Corporation and the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO).
Before attending the high-commission reception, Senator Hill and his team toured the head office of Beauty Logistics Ltd, trading as Pak’s Cosmetics, a leading business house in the black cosmetics and beauty industry, based in Harlow, Essex.
He was taken on a tour of the warehouse facilities by the Chief Executive Officer Peter Mudahy, who welcomed the minister’s party and enlightened them to the growth of Jamaican black castor oil in the British cosmetic industry, in which Pak’s Cosmetics is one of the leading distributors.
Mudahy said: “We were delighted to welcome Minister Hill to Pak’s Cosmetics. We share a vision of collaboration, growth, and quality within the cosmetics sector. This visit provided a platform for meaningful discussions and potential partnerships that can propel both our organisations to new heights.”
They were also joined on this visit by Britain’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Judith Slater, who said her team was glad to help facilitate the visit of the various Jamaican businesses that are part of the two-day ministerial trade mission.
On the final day of the trade mission, JAMPRO’s European Regional Office hosted a Jamaica-UK Investment Forum for the Jamaican delegation to meet with UK businesses to discuss trade and export possibilities.