Jamaica looks to strengthen ties with Chile
Jamaican Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, is insisting that the "broadest possible benefits" are being sought under a cooperation agreement being negotiated between Jamaica and Chile, a mineral-rich South American country.
However, Johnson Smith did not provide specifics.
Jamaica, led by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, held bilateral talks with the Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, this morning on the fringes of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government conference underway in Georgetown.
The Jamaican and Chilean delegation met for less than an hour in discussions described by Johnson Smith as “excellent”.
However, she declined to disclose what are the potential economic benefits saying those are still being worked on.
Jamaica has a trade imbalance with Chile, but Johnson Smith says Kingston wants to expand exports to include spices, condiments and rum among other products.
Jamaica’s main import from Chile is mackerel.
Meanwhile, along with technical assistance, Johnson Smith says Jamaica is also pushing for youth exchanges that she says will include a programme for youths at risk and a work-study programme for tertiary students.
Questioned on Chile’s interest in Jamaica, Johnson Smith said there are no strings attached.
She added that Chile wants to build partnerships within the region.
Chilean officials declined to speak on the discussions.
Chile has a gross domestic product per capita of US$14,528 compared with Jamaica which is about US$5,000.