INDUSTRY, INVESTMENT and Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton says Jamaica should seek to maximise the export of its marquee products to China.
"The strategic approach towards exporting to China should focus on high value added niche market products that China does not produce, such as is the case with our Blue Mountain coffee and Appleton rum," Hylton said.
Hylton, who was speaking at a China-Jamaica Friendship Asso-ciation forum last week, noted that the island boasts a diverse manufacturing sector which includes beverages, processed foods, chemicals, plastics, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and apparel.
The minister also said moving the country up the industry learning curve and strengthening competitiveness are necessary to revitalise the manufacturing sector.
"The manufacturing and export sector is striving to strengthen its capacity in an environment that poses challenges but also holds opportunities," Hylton said.
"Jamaica is ideally situated to take advantage of export-oriented manufacturing and assemble opportunities. Its location at the centre of the shipping routes between North and South America, Europe and the Far East, its skilled workforce and high level of social stability combine to provide Jamaica with a strategic exporting platform," the minister added.
In the meantime, the minister reiterated his vision for a global trans-shipment and logistics hub, which he said is at the heart of Jamaica's growth strategy.
The elements of the hub include the dredging of the Kingston Harbour, port facility expansion at Fort Augusta and Gordon Cay and the establishment of the Caymanas Economic Zone.
Hylton also said the Government would be seeking to establish a trans-shipment commodity port facility near Yallahs, St Thomas.
"This will take advantage of what is acknowledged as perhaps the deepest port in the Americas at 51 metres and will allow for the storage of a range of commodities, including but not exclusive to crude oil, natural gas, iron ore, petroleum products, bio-diesel and petrochemicals," Hylton said.
He also said the establishment of a dry-dock facility at Jackson Bay, Clarendon, and the build-out of the Vernamfield air cargo and passenger facility are critical to Jamaica's development.
"This cluster of projects represents an investment opportunity of US$7-8 billion beginning almost immediately and continuing for the next five to seven years," Hylton said.
He added: "These projects taken together have the potential to drive growth in the short term and well into the future and anchor the country on to a growth path that can restore our fiscal capacity and generate jobs on a scale that can ensure the social stability necessary to underpin macroeconomic stability."