Gov’t To Pursue Equitable Trade Policy

The Government intends to institute a trade policy and modern enforcement mechanism that ensures equity between Jamaica and its trading partners, Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton has revealed.

“The (Ministry)…will be embarking on an initiative to put in place a trade policy and enforcement mechanism that seeks to harness the expertise resident in the Trade Board, Fair Trading Commission, the Anti-Dumping and Subsidies Commission, the Bureau of Standards, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO),” he said while making his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on June 20.

He said the administration will be embarking on this initiative as it moves to organise its agencies and institutions to address obstacles to fair trade for the benefit of its economic actors.

Pointing out that Jamaica is a signatory to a number of trade arrangements, he cited the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and Treaty arrangements in CARICOM in particular, that imply “benefits and burden imposed on our economies,” noting that creating a balance in the negotiated benefits and burdens, is essential.

“In order to achieve and maintain that balance we must produce competitively; (and) we must have access to the marketplace at competitive pricing, as well as presence on the shelves and on the tables of the consumers,” the Minister stressed.

He said that from experience, this is known to be a costly endeavor, and that this cost can be increased or reduced based on measures taken by the country’s trading partners. “We are well aware of the various barriers that have acted as impediments to access and expansion in the marketplace,” the Minister pointed out.

Mr. Hylton noted that the “modern and responsive enforcement mechanism” to be established, will be put at the disposal of the country’s producers “in order to bring about a level playing field, through engaging the dispute settlement bodies after diplomatic initiatives have been exhausted”.

“This in our view is very much needed to ensure that the benefits under these agreements, and not only the burdens, are enjoyed by the productive sector and the society,” Minister Hylton said.