Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Hidden cost of Chinese investment

Published:Monday | August 31, 2015 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Thousands of Jamaicans lining the streets of cities and major towns across Jamaica selling cheap, Chinese-made goods have become an effective marketing strategy for Chinese wholesalers.

What we would like to see is more investments in manufacturing to create jobs for Jamaicans and the industrialisation of energy production to facilitate a 70 per cent decrease in the cost of energy. This would be real investment and would benefit the Jamaican people instead of the cheap, subservient, marginal jobs in wholesales and on infrastructure projects.

When investors use their own people from China or Mexico and delete the local Jamaican workers out of the economic equation, they have effectively and structurally remove any chances of the net benefits of economic growth accruing to the Jamaican economy and its people.

The kinds of foreign investment we have seen over the last two decades, has not resulted in any significant growth in the Jamaican economy. What makes it even worse, is that the governments of Jamaica have traded off the net future benefits to the economy by exchanging the development rights to strategic real estate within a major transportation corridor to be developed not by Jamaican workers, but by Chinese, so there is a double take again.

There is also a triple take of economic exploitation because all the hard currency inflows, some US$2.03 billion, will be sucked out of the Jamaican economy when Chinese-made inferior goods are exchanged in Jamaican dollars and sent back to US-dollar foreign bank account.

The economic deception of cheap Chinese goods is that they are replaced more frequently, which is a hidden cost.

SILBERT BARRETT

net_sbarrett@hotmail.com