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'Deal with it'

Published:Saturday | May 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Samuda tells J'can manufacturers to find practical solutions to trade woes

The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) says Jamaican manufacturers complaining about the perceived advantages enjoyed by their counterparts in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) should stop whining and seek redress through the established channels.

JCC President Milton Samuda, who made the suggestion yesterday, conceded that the subsidies and incentives given to T&T manufacturers are critical factors that have to be addressed, but insisted that the issues could be resolved through dialogue and mechanisms available at the regional level.

"You have the Caribbean Court of Justice and if you feel that your trading partner is acting in a way that is not in keeping with the treaty, you have a clear remedy and you deal with it," Samuda said during a Gleaner Editors' Forum held at the newspaper's central Kingston offices.

jma blasted t&t government

His comments come just days after the leadership of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA) blasted the T&T government for reportedly providing its manufacturing sector with over $2 billion in subsidies and incentives.

"You cannot be part of a family called CARICOM where you have free trade between each other and you are subsidising your producer in that country," complained Omar Azan, the immediate past president of the JMA.

"No matter what Jamaica, Antigua, Barbados or anybody else does, they will never be able to compete because there will always be that competitive edge (to Trinidadian companies)," Azan told The Gleaner this week.

But using his organisation as an example, Samuda said the JCC has partnered with the manufacturers' association and the Chamber of Commerce in the twin-island republic to set up a trade desk "primarily designed to make it easier for Jamaican businesses to get into the Trinidad market".

"Those are the kinds of practical things you do. You don't sit down and bay at the moon," he exhorted.