Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator A.J. Nicholson has exhorted members of the business community to utilise the recognition generated at the recently concluded London Olympics to increase levels of investment, improve the island's production, and increase exports. He was delivering the main address at the opening of the Consular Corps annual International Trade Exposition 2012 under the theme, "Trade Partnerships for Economic Development". It was held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel from October 4 to 6.
Senator Nicholson explained, "In order to do this, we must strengthen our partnerships within the public sector and between the public and private sectors. Our private sector must become more adventurous and be regional and international entrepreneurs. We must also encourage innovation and the production of goods and services which meet the highest quality standards."
Senator Nicholson further stated that there were three critical elements that should underpin Jamaica's foreign and economic relations. These are (1) the importance of trade; (2) the principle of partnership and (3) the imperative of economic development.
This is because current global realities indicate that on the one hand, it is a season of great achievement and, in a few instances, of significant economic growth and prosperity, while on the other, for too many countries and regions, it is a season of tremendous challenges to their economic development.
He noted that at the critical juncture of its development that Jamaica now stands, the challenges of the global economic and financial crisis, of food security, and the high cost of energy, are among some of the issues with which the country is grappling as it endeavours to navigate a route towards sustainable social and economic development. In that regard, he reminded them that the trade expo can be a beneficial tool for identifying real interest in purchasing goods and services from Jamaica. It provides scope for networking, which is integral to the generation of business opportunities, and new contacts.
"We need to strengthen partnerships within the international community and, specifically, with our trading partners to attain our goal of increased investments and increased exports," Senator Nicholson told guests at the opening ceremony of the expo.