Jamaica could see increased investment from China as that country’s EXIM Bank prepares to offer investors financing to the tune of US$10 billion to secure a spot in the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) to be set up on the island.
Last month, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton and the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (Jampro) partnered with China’s EXIM Bank to promote ‘Brand Jamaica’ and the country’s investment opportunities, following the hosting of a five-day investment mission in Beijing.
The Bank has committed to providing Chinese investors access to special financing from its US$10 billion Self Support Fund for investment in Jamaica’s SEZ and Industrial Parks.
The SEZ initiative is aimed at attracting new economic activities to Jamaica, including logistics, and will support the provision of physical and human infrastructure, the exploitation of synergies, as well as the creation of a competitive regulatory regime.
SEZs are central to the overall logistics hub as they will link industrial development and logistics services and will facilitate the participation of small and medium enterprises in export industries. The development will also ensure a smooth transition towards a policy regime that complies with Jamaica’s international obligations under the World Trade Organization by the end of the year.
Plans are underway for the development of 16 SEZs as part of the much-anticipated Global Logistics Hub initiative, the first of which should be the Caymanas Economic Zone in St Catherine, near to both Portmore and Kingston. Following the issuance of the tender for the Caymanas feasibility study in May, reports are that the Government will be spending $30 million to commence study on the location by 2016.
During the visit to China, Hylton indicated that he was pleased with the response from the Chinese business community, many of which are now arranging a visit to Jamaica to explore investments in limestone production, hotel development, pharmaceuticals and agribusiness.
Additionally, Jampro stated that the Chinese have shown particular interest in a livestock project currently being promoted by the agency and in the importation of Jamaican products for distribution in the Chinese market.
“A part of being open for business is demonstrated in the fact that the Jamaican Government has put in place the necessary policies and legislations to encourage investment… as we celebrate 43 years of friendship between our Governments, I can say with confidence that the Jamaican Government is committed to another 43 years and beyond,” Hylton stated.
Over the years, the Government has undertaken a number of initiatives with China — now known as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Jampro says it is now targeting South Korea and Japan for sustainable investments and lucrative trade opportunities.
President of Jampro, Diane Edwards, stated in a release from the company that it was critical for Jampro to continue to promote Jamaican business opportunities to the Chinese market, due to the two countries’ diplomatic, cultural and economic relationship, which has strengthened over the past two decades.
According to the release: “JAMPRO will continue to target China for investments based on the increased interests and market activity from this region. Chinese interest in Jamaica as an investment destination and a source of high-end lifestyle products is at an all-time high and this is as a result of our continuous promotional efforts through a number of initiatives including strengthening partnerships in target markets, and an active consular engagement programme through our overseas embassies.”
Published By: TheObserver
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