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Industry Minister discusses SME competitiveness with ITC Executive Director

Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce | 2016-04-22 00:00:00

The Honourable Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, yesterday met with Ms. Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), in the margins of the 42nd Regular Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), which is currently underway this week (April 21-22) in Georgetown, Guyana. 

Among the issues discussed were several priority areas that are of mutual interest to both the ITC and the Government of Jamaica.  These include SME competitiveness and internationalization, as well as inclusive trade, including youth and women’s economic empowerment.

In his discussions with the Executive Director of the ITC, Minister Samuda expressed appreciation for that organisation’s support in the development of Jamaica’s Trade Facilitation (TF) Road Map and Project Plan, which provide the framework for the execution of a range of TF reforms that are intended to achieve greater transparency, predictability and efficiency within the business and trading environment, as well as improve the competitiveness of domestic firms in the international market place.

Ms. Gonzalez also presented Minister Samuda with a copy of the inaugural ITC report entitled SME Competitiveness Outlook, which was prepared under the theme “Connect, compete, and  change for inclusive growth”. 

In her remarks, Ms. Gonzalez highlighted the fact that, from the ITC’s research, the key areas of trade in which SMEs required support were public and private standards, trade facilitation, digital trade and e-commerce, as well as non-tariff barriers, which can amount to between 15-30% of trade costs, of which approximately 50% are imposed within the borders of the home country.

The ITC Executive Director also expressed her organisation’s willingness to continue working with Jamaica and CARICOM on SMEs and other trade related matters.

The ITC is the joint trade-related technical assistance agency of the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), which is dedicated to making small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries more competitive in global markets.

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