Thu | Oct 19, 2017

If I Met With Obama, I Would

Published:Wednesday | April 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Edmund Bartlett

While he doubts he will get a chance to meet with United States President Barack Obama when he visits tomorrow, Edmund Bartlett, opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs and trade, has outlined details of what a conversation between himself and the president would entail.

The conversation, he said, would begin with a focus on energy.

"Central to the discussion must be energy security and the current dependence that Jamaica has on oil. The single most ubiquitous factor affecting the manufacturing sector and all our processes is energy cost. We have to look at how the US, which is now the largest energy producer in the world, can collaborate with us and the region in enabling energy security, which would significantly advance our cost competitiveness in the international market."

Bartlett continued by highlighting trade as the next item on his agenda.

"Trade in services is important for us because that is the area where Jamaica does have some level of competitive advantage. There are about three trade agreements between the US and the Caribbean inclusive of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), but these need to be focused on trade in services because it is now the largest area of international trade."

He contends that development of human capital and skills in the service sector through agreements on trade in services is central to the logistics hub that Jamaica wants to become as these would facilitate access to the markets of the future.

The seasoned statesman also indicated that he would broach the issue of diplomacy in the region.

"Regional security is a big area of discussion. Cross-border security arrangements and the whole business of transnational criminal activity, the threat of the region being embroiled in the ISIS movement, the role that the Caribbean can play in the international fight against terrorism ... and we have to also deal with the issues of human rights within the Americas," he said.