We would like to express our appreciation to you CEO’s who joined us at our last meeting with the Hon. Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment & Commerce which took place on Friday, May 3rd, 2013, or when that wasn’t possible, you sent members of your team. We now will have a follow-up meeting with the Minister on Friday,June 7, 2013, at 9:00 a.m.,again at the Ministry.
That gathering and the April Luncheon which many of you attended when we heard from the Hon. Minister, about the Global Logistics Hub, and from Mr. Jose Raul Perales, of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, and Dr. David Lewis, VP of Manchester Trade, based in Washington, D. C., in person at the Luncheon, and again when Dr. Lewis joined us by phone at the May 3rd meeting, about the very short, current window of opportunity which now exists for the possible expansion of the Caribbean Basin Trade Initiative (CBI), to include the “services sectors” as described briefly below. The passage of this legislation will require the lobbying of both houses of Congress, vigorously in this very short time span, to make this tremendous opportunity for the services sectors to take advantage of a Trade Agreement similar to what other sectors have enjoyed in the past. However, we need to quickly consider how much of a role, and what role we will play in these opportunities, and especially with regard to the decision as to whether you in the services sectors are willing to contribute to we wish to engage Dr. David Lewis and Manchester Trade in the lobbying of the U. S. Congress to make the matter of CBI Expansion a reality. Therefore, please review the brief paragraphs below giving a snapshot of the topic, and to be reminded of the importance of these opportunities for our members, and Jamaica’s economic development.
We look forward to your support, and feel inspired that AMCHAM can once again utilize the unique position we hold through our international networks to do exciting things for Jamaica.
The U. S. Chamber of Commerce, several months ago brought to our attention an opportunity that exists for expansion of the CBI to include 27 service sectors, perhaps in ways similar to the new Free Trade Agreement between the U. S. and the EU. Our Advisor, Dr. David Lewis of the Washington DC-based Manchester Trade has said the “CARICOM beneficiaries of the CBI have maxed-out the trade preferences of the CBI over the past 3 decades in zero duties, zero quotas, incentives, etc. in textiles-apparel, free trade zone manufacturing, agro industry and other goods-based export trade into the USA. Over the same 3 decades the economies of these CBI beneficiaries have changed and transformed (for various domestic, regional and international competitiveness reasons) away from goods and into services.In CARICOM the average is that 75% of the economies are already services-dominated, with some as high as 90%. Moreover, at the global level the fastest and largest growing sector of international trade is in the services sectors, which includes, naming just a few:
AMCHAM, having participated in a Mission to Washington DC in February, 2013, where extensive meetings took place at both the World Bank, who having seen the presentation made by the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce, and JAMPRO, has since referred to the initiative as being the only initiative they can imagine as having the potential for the “transformation of Jamaica” Likewise with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the U. S. Trade Development Agency (USTDA), and others, all of whom expressed great interest and enthusiasm for supporting Jamaica’s quest for the project, with aspects of the Hub development to be concluded in time for the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, in 2015. In fact, they were of the view that it is most unlikely that any other single initiative on the horizon which had the potential to impact every sector of the Island, and set Jamaica at last on a path for growth. AMCHAM, via the U. S. Chamber of Commerce will assist in recognizing and encouraging U. S. companies in sectors that would benefit from the Global Logistics Hub in Jamaica. Contact us if you have interested or questions on these issues.
1. Prior to their departure to postings abroad, all U. S. Consul Generals are now requested by the U. S. State Department and Homeland Security to work closely with AMCHAM bodies located in each of the 100 countries around the world in the issuance of U.S. visas related to business travel. In Jamaica, our current success rate at guiding our members through this process is at an all-time high – 95%!