KINGSTON, Jamaica - Over 100 trade-related stakeholders participated in the official launch of Jamaica’s National Aid for Trade Strategy, Partnerships towards Sustained Economic Growth and Development through Trade.
The event was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and attracted a wide range of stakeholders from the diplomatic community, government, civil society and the private sector.
Jamaica's Aid for Trade Strategy, the result of comprehensive stakeholder consultations and significant inter-ministerial cooperation and coordination, identified programs for investment under three trade-related priority pillars: Network Infrastructure, Competitiveness, and Export Diversification and Trade Development.
The strategy provides a mechanism for better matching the demand and supply for Aid for Trade resources, delivers a pipeline of technical assistance programs and opportunities for public-private partnerships, and inspires confidence in its implementation and sustainability through its robust results-framework and monitoring and evaluation mechanism.
The welcome address was delivered by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, the Hon Dr. Kenneth Baugh, who reiterated the need for cooperation at every level to find creative ways of strengthening Jamaica's trade regime, and to bring institutions, processes, and procedures to international standards.
Baugh invited the private sector and local financial institutions to partner on Aid for Trade to stimulate production and expansion of exports. The Minister of Finance, the Hon. Audley Shaw, echoed this call and stressed the need to “earn our way” through increased foreign direct investment and public-private partnerships, in addition to Aid for Trade.
Aid for Trade can assist developing countries to increase exports of goods and services, to integrate into the multilateral trading system, and to benefit from liberalized trade and increased market access.
The IDB Integration and Trade Sector has been a key partner in this initiative at the global, regional, and national level through its programmatic and technical assistance activities. The Aid for Trade Strategies provide a mechanism for monitoring flows and resources and support the systematic World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Policy Reviews.
In her closing remarks, the Minister of State, the Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, thanked the WTO for its continued leadership in the initiative and the support offered by the Director-General Pascal Lamy. She also hailed the partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID) in seeking to advance work on Aid for Trade and assisting member states in their national initiatives.
The Aid for Trade Strategic Fund is an IDB multidonor fund created in 2009 to help the public and private sectors in Latin America and the Caribbean integrate into the global economy. The Aid for Trade Fund plays a key role in enhancing the Caribbean countries capacity to take advantage of trade liberalization opportunities by helping to address important constraints to market access.