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The Cubans are coming - Delegation set to make first appearance at Expo Jamaica

Published:Friday | April 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Berletta Henlon Forrester, sales and promotions manager, Jampro

A delegation of 11 from Cuba will attend Expo Jamaica 2018 - to be held at the National Arena and environs on April 19 - in search of some of the finest products made in Jamaica.

At a Gleaner Editors' forum held yesterday at the company's North Street offices, Berletta Henlon Forrester, sales and promotions manager at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), announced that for the first time, Cubans would be selecting prospective Jamaican manufacturers with which to do business at the expo.

"This has come out of a concerted effort by Jamaica to get the Cubans to see the value of buying products from Jamaica," Henlon Forrester disclosed. "With Cuba being a state-controlled environment, the buyers will be from government agencies looking to buy in bulk to support the country. They are interested in food, beverage, and cosmetic products. They are also interested in building materials and cleaning chemicals and soaps."


Factory visits


In addition to attending the expo, Henlon Forrester outlined that the Cubans would visit several factories under the Cuba market development programme, which was conceptualised roughly three years ago.

"This is a programme developed by JAMPRO that involves doing a lot of research to determine what kind of products the Cubans need. We have done numerous workshops and several trade missions in Cuba," Henlon Forrester reported.

"This is the third delegation we have brought in under the programme, but this is the first time they will come to the expo. We are courting the Cubans to start buying from Jamaica. They will go into the factories of different companies because they are keen on seeing how we make our products," said the JAMPRO official.

Jamaica and Cuba are approximately 90 miles apart and have good diplomatic relations. Henlon Forrester noted, "The Cubans have never traded with Jamaica even though we have strong ties in terms of cultural exchange and Cuban doctors coming and going, but JAMPRO sees the opportunity and is making every effort to develop trade relations."