THE EDITOR, Sir:
Recently, Canada launched the Canada-CARICOM Trade, Not Aid Strategy, because developed countries like Canada want to build a new strategic partnership with the Caribbean based on trade and innovation and not aid.
Furthermore, the European Commission has downgraded the growth projections for Europe this year. Because of economic contraction, Europe will become more inward-looking.
Therefore, a differentiated approach is inevitable. This means that beyond 2014, aid to upper middle-income countries like Jamaica will be significantly reduced. However, Jamaica and other countries in the Caribbean should use this opportunity to forge a new partnership with Europe based on innovation and research and development.
Innovative partnerships between countries are quite important in this age of 'economic diplomacy'. Australia and Denmark are two examples.
The Australia Trade Commission organised 'The Australia-India Innovation Forums' in New Delhi and Mumbai to promote Australia as a hub for innovation and research. There is also the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, which gives Australian researchers the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge scientific research projects and workshops with Indian scientists. Grant funding for scientists is also provided.
Based on a green alliance agreement with South Korea, Danish companies can apply to participate in South Korea's research programme for green technology. Conversely, Denmark's Ministry for Higher Education signed a memorandum of understanding on research, innovation and higher education in order to build a new partnership with South Korea. This agreement will pave the way for joint research projects and student exchange programmes.
In addition, the 'Build Jamaica, Buy Jamaica' campaign is flawed. Jamaica should follow the advice of Ambassador Paola Amadei and invest in science and research in order to improve the quality of its products.
A number of Jamaica companies have not met America's Food Safety Modernisation Act standards. Therefore, we should not expect consumers to purchase substandard products because they were manufactured in Jamaica.
'Build Jamaica, Buy Jamaica' should be renamed 'Improve Jamaica, Buy Jamaica' instead. Jamaica and its Caribbean counterparts should embrace innovation and stop acting like children who refuse to grow up.
Last, the Jamaica Employ Programme is not a success because businesses only create jobs when demand is high and investor confidence is strong. The purpose of business is to create a product or service with the intention of making a profit. Businesses do not create jobs to meet social objectives, because if workers do not add value, costs will increase.