Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, says the rapid pace of technological advancement and expansion of e-commerce globally provides opportunity for Latin American and Caribbean countries to increase trade and commercial ties and pursue their respective growth agendas.
She was addressing a Regional Policy Dialogue on Trade and Integration convened by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) at its headquarters in Washington DC on Wednesday (November 1).
The two-day meeting, which involved representatives of major corporations such as Google, United Parcel Service (UPS) and Walmart, looked at the obstacles to enhanced integration of the region and explored ways to deepen commercial ties among countries.
Minister Johnson Smith said “closer cooperation with Latin America is one of the foreign policy priorities of the Government of Jamaica and, therefore, participation in the Regional Policy Dialogue is an important step to this end”.
The delegates agreed that digital trade and e-commerce are excellent avenues for the countries in the region to expand those links.
Minister Johnson Smith pointed out that the Government has been taking steps to expand its digital footprint. She noted that Jamaica is the first Caribbean country to introduce an e-gov platform to facilitate improved connection with and service to citizens.
The Minister took the opportunity to update the meeting on policy and legislative developments, which have enhanced Jamaica’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) framework to better enable the Government to use e-commerce as a vehicle to empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs.
The Regional Policy Dialogue on Trade and Integration also discussed preparations for the 11th Session of the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December.
While in Washington, Minister Johnson Smith also met with legislators on Capitol Hill on various policy issues.
Jamaica’s delegation included Deputy Director, Foreign Trade Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Richard Brown; Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Jamaica, Marsha Coore Lobban; Minister-Counsellor, Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, Nicholette Williams; and Counsellor for Jamaica at the IDB, Arthur Williams.