Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
The Government will be seeking to lure more investors from China to take advantage of business opportunities expected from the proposed development of Jamaica as a logistics hub in wake of the proposed completion of the Panama Canal's expansion, which is slated for 2015.
The project, elevated to national priority status by the Government, is considered a major initiative to drive the development and growth of the Jamaican economy.
"This June to July, we will mount a targeted promotional mission to China as a follow-up to our visit last November," Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton revealed yesterday. "We expect a large number of potential users of the economic zones to be Chinese corporate (company) and entities, not exclusively but a lot."
Hylton made the disclosure while giving the main presentation in the first of a series of islandwide consultations at the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry's quarterly luncheon at The Wexford Hotel, in Montego Bay. The promotional missions will also take the minister to Brazil, Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar, South Africa and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
The project will be the fourth of its kind globally behind Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands.
Jamaica has a comparative advantage based on its relative proximity to the Panama Canal and location midway between North and South America.
The project will have six separate but complementary elements - dredging of the Kingston Harbour; expansion of port facilities at Fort Augusta and Gordon Cay; establishing a dry dock at Jackson Bay, Clarendon; establishing a trans-shipment commodity port near Yallahs, St Thomas; developing the Caymanas Economic Zone, and developing an air cargo and passenger facility at Vernamfield in Clarendon.
Dr Eric Deans, chairman of the Global Logistics Task Force, said the improvement to the port of Montego Bay, Sangster International Airport and the Montego Bay Free Zone would augur well for the project and western Jamaica.