Joe Issa Welcomes Move to Bridge Trading Information Gap

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Businessman Joe Issa, who leverages his Cool Corp brand internationally, has commended the authorities for moving towards closing the information gap to better enable exporters to take advantage of trade agreements in order to increase exports, stating that trading in Jamaica is already too complex and needed to be simplified and made more user-friendly.

Submitted: February 10, 2017

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Submitted: February 10, 2017

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Businessman Joe Issa, who leverages his Cool Corp brand internationally, has commended the authorities for moving towards closing the information gap to better enable exporters to take advantage of trade agreements in order to increase exports, stating that trading in Jamaica is already too complex and needed to be simplified and made more user-friendly.

“I am happy that the authorities are moving to close the information gap that has impeded exports and investment…there are several trade agreements which we are not taking advantage of…the US Ambassador is reported to have said it and now, we are hearing it from the JAMPRO chairman,” says Issa, founder of the Cool Group of companies.

He was reacting in an interview, to recent comments made by Senator Don Wehby, in which he informed that special efforts were being made “to encourage exporters to take advantage of existing trade agreements where preferential access, mainly through duty-free provisions, is available.”

“While there are nine agreements within the region, Jamaican exporters are not benefiting enough, whether through lack of knowledge that the agreements exist, or how to access them.

“This information gap must be bridged, and it is something that JAMPRO, working with its partners, including the JMA and the JEA, is committed to doing,” Senator Wehby was quoted by the Gleaner as saying.

Issa says in the interview he is also pleased that other aspects of bridging the information gap were currently being addressed including training in developing a successful export business.

Senator Wehby has identified food safety, financing options, product handling, certification, packaging and labeling requirements as priority areas for training. Noting the role of trade facilitation in lowering barriers to trade, Issa says he supports streamlining the process of exporting and importing, including the removal of redundant licences and permits, stating the latest measures will help reduce the complexity of trading in Jamaica.

According to President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Metry Seaga, the manufacturing sector contributed $55.9 billion to the government coffers for 2015/2016, making it the second biggest taxpayer in the country.

He said the manufacturing sector continues to be one of the key pillars of economic growth, contributing 8.6 per cent to gross domestic product (GDP), and that “it offers some of the best opportunities for Jamaica to reach its target of US$2.5 billion in exports by 2020.”


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