Jamaica wide open to Chinese investors

Date: Sep 2014

As the gateway to the Americas, Jamaica offers lubricate business opportunities for Chinese investors in areas such as renewable energy, agriculture and infrastructure, a leading Jamaican business promoter has said.

"We particularly want to speak to Chinese business people and bring more trade missions to China," said Diane Edwards, president of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).

"For the past 10 years, we have seen that Chinese companies expand all over the world and build world-class infrastructure. So far, Chinese companies have achieved very high level of excellence and sophistication," she said.

Last week, Edwards led a delegation of Jamaican companies to participate in the eighth China-LAC America Business Summit, which was held in Changsha, Hunan province.

During the meetings, more than 1,200 business representatives from 30 countries and regions in Latin America discussed on issues such as deepening cooperation, improving the quality of investment and new trends in major industries.

"We are hoping to build cooperation with Chinese companies on alternative energy, as Jamaica is reducing the cost of electricity and China is the world leader in solar panels and solar energy," Edwards said.

Edwards said Latin America and the Caribbean share a lot in common with China in terms of the ways of development and hailed the recent BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit as "an interesting success".

"Traditional business models are limited in their ability to foster development in developing countries, because they don't understand the challenges in these countries", Edwards said.

"'The South' has to find its own development model, which is not harmful to the environment and can get young people involved to create prosperity," she added.

JAMPRO also launched its Mandarin website at the summit as an effort to increase Chinese investors' awareness of investment opportunities within Jamaica and establish ties with potential stakeholders.

"Jamaica is in between of North and South Americas, east of Central America, and at the center of major shipping lanes, so it is convenient for products manufactured in Jamaica to be shipped to other parts of the American continents," Edwards said.

According to her, potential Chinese investors in Jamaica can also enjoy preferential entry to different markets in Americas.

"For the US market, we have Caribbean Basin Initiative, which allows us to export certain products duty-free to the US. We also have special trade agreement with Canada, with CARICOM and CELAC," Edwards said.

Established in 1988, as an agency with Jamaica's Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, JAMPRO promotes business opportunities in export and investment to the local and international private sector.

Edwards said the Caribbean country has improved infrastructure, such as expanding and privatizing the Kingston port and building highways to attract investors. Jamaica has also laid out 9 agro-parks and 16 economic zones across the country.

"We need to explain China to our business people, hold seminars about China and do more research to find where the real opportunities lie," she added.

Source: Pu Zhendong (chinadaily.com.cn)

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