KINGSTON, Jamaica — Former prime minister Bruce Golding says Jamaica’s trade imbalance could be one of the factors that hinder their future with the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM).
Golding made the assertion during his address at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) exclusive Breakfast Conversation on April 26 at the Knutsford Court Hotel, where he spoke to private sector businesses about the critical consideration that must be given to determine the extent and nature of Jamaica’s future involvement with CARICOM.
According to a release from the JCC today, Golding said Jamaica has failed to develop and implement the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) which has contributed to a lack of competitiveness and diversification from the country.
“Too many companies are producing the same products and we are unable to sell those same products to each other,” the former prime minister was quoted as saying.
The CSME is an initiative currently being explored by CARICOM that would integrate all of its member-states into a single economic unit.
“Essentially, Golding is saying, is that countries within CARICOM need to produce enough products that can sustain themselves and create trade opportunities with the world so that more foreign exchange can be earned to pay effectively for things these countries do not produce,” said the JCC.
According to JCC, Golding said he believed “Jamaica is better off being a part of CARICOM because CARICOM could be a benefit to Jamaica.
“In Haiti, it is 11 million people and they have a demand for goods and services that is enormous. 17 million persons is a huge difference from the 2.7 million we have in Jamaica, five times the Jamaican market”.
He reportedly cited Digicel and Jamaica Broilers, as they were among the first two companies to be in the Haitian market to supply products and services.
“CARICOM imports 35 billion US dollars of goods such as merchandise imports, only 13 per cent of that Jamaica imports from each other, so in terms of intra-regional trade it’s over a little over 3 billion out of 35 billion dollars of imports” said Golding.
He ended by saying, “Jamaica has to seriously contemplate & decide if it wants to be part of CARICOM and engage on the terms it demands”.
The JCC agreed that Jamaica could carry far greater weight economically if it gets its house in order because our economic crisis is not CARICOM’s making but rather, CARICOM can impact positively our economic growth. (Jamaica Observer)