Minister sees opportunities for Japan-Jamaica cooperation

KINGSTON, Jamaica: There are a number of opportunities for the expansion of trade and investment with Japan because the relationship with that country goes back some 40 years, says Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. Christopher Tufton.

Dr. Tufton, in an address to a visiting Japan-CARICOM economic mission to Jamaica at a working luncheon hosted by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), said the development of Jamaica’s coffee industry was one example of the areas in which the two countries could cooperate.

“The development of our coffee industry has been largely due to the contribution of Japanese investors to that industry over the past 30 years, and it has benefitted the industry significantly,” he said, adding that 80 to 85 per cent of Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee is shipped to Japan.

Tufton said he felt that Blue Mountain coffee was a perfect example “on which to benchmark, and to seek to find other critical strategic alliances, that could lead to creating value from a recognition that already exists”.

He said that Jamaica is strategically positioned, geographically and through trade arrangements with North America, to take advantage of that continent’s markets.

“We are seeking a platform where you are located, not just for Japanese consumers, but for consumers that you serve within that region.”

He said that Japan has been able to develop the expertise in terms of systems and processes, while Jamaica is still trying to develop its own.

“There are many possibilities (and) there is a lot of potential. It is for us, now, to seek to facilitate the understanding,” he said.

The 14-member Japan/CARICOM economic trade mission, which comprises Japanese government officials, local embassy staff and private sector stakeholders, have been in the region to investigate areas of economic collaboration and the potential for Japanese investment.

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