Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Jamaica, Her Excellency, Ambassador Paola Amadei, says the Government’s trade and business-related reforms are beginning to show positive results.
With the ongoing improvements in business facilitation, which have resulted in increased price competitiveness and higher investments, Ambassador Amadei said the private sector will be better able to tap into the opportunities for export and growth.
She was speaking on October 15, at the official presentation of $34.7 million worth of equipment by the EU to the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), for the Bureau’s chemistry and microbiology laboratories. The handing over exercise was held at the BSJ’s Winchester Road facilities, where the pieces of equipment have been in use since May.
They include a Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (FAAS); microwave digestion apparatus; UV-Visible spectrophotometer; rotary evaporator; an Automated Analytical Profile Index (API) system; a compounded microscope; and a network laser printer.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Amadei said the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), under which the equipment was provided, does not only address cutting tariffs on goods.
“EPAs will help ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries to do business, to become more competitive, and more investor-friendly places, by helping to create a transparent and predictable business environment, thereby spurring investments and job creation,” she stated.
Chairman of the BSJ, Professor Winston Davidson, expressed gratitude to the EU. He noted that the equipment has come at a time when the BSJ is focusing on the accreditation of its food testing laboratories. In March, the Bureau chemistry laboratory received accreditation for nine food tests.
He said that the initiative also supports the BSJ’s efforts to strengthen the country’s national quality infrastructure, which is vital to enabling export competitiveness, food safety, and sustainable growth and development.
The two labs are among half a dozen export-related facilities, which have been equipped under the EPA at a total cost of $200 million.
The equipment and accompanying training of staff will bring about significant improvements in the Bureau’s testing and quality control capacity. It will reduce time and cost for exporters, particularly of canned goods.
The EPA support programme aims to: strengthen quality and standards control; and improve the competitiveness of selected value chains with export potential. The project is being implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).
By Alphea Saunders