Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Jamaicans urged to protect, expand market share in face of Brexit

Published:Wednesday | August 3, 2016 | 8:00 AMChristopher Serju
Fuller

Jamaicans must get up to speed, be proactive and move to counter the potential fallout from Brexit, Custos of Kingston Steadman Fuller is warning.

"It is established that this is

a watershed moment in geopolitics," Fuller said of the pending departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union.

Deviating from his prepared text as guest speaker at the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show on Sunday, he added: "Here in Jamaica and across the Caribbean, we do not have the luxury of allowing the rhetoric to overshadow the trade implications of Brexit for our small and vulnerable economy. We must leverage our competitive and comparative advantages to protect existing market share and expand into new areas."

Said Fuller: "Opportunities are opening for mango exports to the UK later this year, and I sincerely hope we will take full advantage of that and others as they arise. I, therefore, encourage all of us to buy Jamaican and keep Jamaican businesses afloat and Jamaican jobs secure ... . Buy more Jamaican-made items as your investment in the country's development."

Speaking on the eve of Emancipation Day, Fuller used the occasion to challenge Jamaicans to take a leaf from the book of their enslaved ancestors.

"As our forebears did, let us begin right here, right now, to emancipate ourselves from the long-standing fascination with imported goods."

He also had a message for stakeholders in the farming community.

"Agriculture is going through some difficult times which require strategic thinking to make the sectors attractive for investment. Denbigh 64 is a reminder of the advantages and dynamism that still exists in the sector. Let us, therefore, embrace it and take agriculture to new heights of achievement."

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com