Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, is encouraging private sector organisations to make greater use of the European Union (EU)-funded facilities for trade improvement through the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
She made the call while addressing a signing ceremony for $2.3 billion (€17.7 million) in budgetary support from the EU at Jamaica House on November 17.
The EPA is aimed at promoting trade between Europe and CARIFORUM and to boost the countries’ economies.
Included is financial support from the EU to help Caribbean governments implement the accord, and for businesses to use the EPA to increase export and attract more investment.
The Prime Minister stressed the Government’s commitment to “doing all we can to improve the opportunities for increased trade participation by Jamaican companies.”
She noted that through the support of the EU, the Government has made great gains in improving the business environment, increasing competitiveness and removing barriers to trade.
The Prime Minister cited the EU’s support in upgrading Jamaica’s public food facilities in order to make them compliant with internationally recognised safety standards.
“I am (also) mindful that significant progress is being made to build export capacity in a number of areas,” she added.
The Prime Minister said Jamaica is proud to be rated by the World Bank and Forbes Magazine as the best country in the Caribbean to do business, and pledged that the Government will continue to make improvements to boost economic growth.
“Our objective is certainly to improve the quality of life for all the people of Jamaica. We must continue to take major steps to ensure economic growth, employment, sustainable development and poverty reduction,” she said.
The EU is commemorating 40 years of partnership with Jamaica this year.
By Denise Dennis