President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards (centre), and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Paul Robotham (right), listen as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the LASCO Group, Lascelles Chin, share his experience on the agency’s first ever trade mission to the Dominican Republic earlier this month. JAMPRO provided an update on the successful mission during a press briefing on September 23 at its offices.
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Representatives of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and the local private sector are hailing the positive impact of a trade mission to the Dominican Republic earlier this month.
President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards, said the trip had a 100 percent satisfaction rate among the participants.
Edwards was providing an update on early outcomes of the JAMPRO mission to the Dominican Republic between September 10 and 14, at the agency’s head office on Monday.
She reported that there were 15 participating companies from Jamaica, which included a mix of small, medium and large entities. They met with a number of retail giants, including Grupo Ramos and Super Bravo, two of the largest supermarket chains in the Dominican Republic.
The JAMPRO president said that resulting from the trip one company won a trial order to a large supermarket chain; while another reported securing a joint venture partnership deal with an industrialist for a manufacturing plant in the Dominican Republic, thereby sealing a deal for negotiations that began before the trip.
She also pointed out that one of the companies identified a distributor for its products for the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and potentially Haiti.
Edwards reported further that a number of companies left product samples, and would be following up with the entities.
She noted that JAMPRO was breaking new ground in the Dominican Republic and the ultimate aim is to make big inroads in reducing the significant trade deficit between that country and Jamaica.
Edwards informed that in 2012, Jamaica imported US$48 million worth of goods from the Dominican Republic, while exporting approximately US$500,000, “so we need to do more to build the trade between the two countries.”
In the meantime, deputy president, Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Metry Seaga, who was one of the co-leaders on the mission, said it was the start of something big.
“A lot of us didn’t know what we were going for. We thought it was a fact finding mission, but it turned out to be much more,” Seaga said.
He pointed out that while there are some obstacles, the Dominican Republic represents a market of 10 million people and its neighbour Haiti, another 10 million for the Jamaican manufacturer.
“That is 20 million people at our doorsteps. We are looking at the United States of America and we are looking at Europe and other markets, but don’t need to go that far. Shipping is very inexpensive, and we need to get into that market. If we can increase the size of our markets by six times, we need to do so. I encourage everyone to keep fighting, it is not going to be easy, but it is very doable,” Seaga said.
The trip marks the first time that JAMPRO was leading a trade mission to the Dominican Republic. A key objective of the mission was to increase trade links between the two countries as well as foster a business-conducive platform between companies in both countries.