More technical assistance and support services are in store for CARIFORUM nations to better prepare their private sectors for both trade negotiations and to help them pursue opportunities in trade and business development. The measures have been outlined by Mrs. Pamela Coke Hamilton, Executive Director of Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), who used the occasion of an address to a function at the University of the West Indies, to highlight some necessary inputs for the Caribbean private sector to take advantage of the opportunities in the continuing and unfolding global trading arena.


First of all the Agency will be creating a Marketing and Intelligence Unit which Mrs. Coke Hamilton explained is necessary to help the regional private sector find niches in key export markets. “There is a lack of sufficient mechanism to enable the private sector to translate provisions into their market opening agreements into tangible market penetration,” said Mrs. Coke Hamilton.


“This goes to the issue of market intelligence, trends and innovations and all the mechanism lacking which would enable the private sector to go forward.”


“Another new department we intend to create is a Competitiveness and Innovation Unit”, said the Caribbean Export Executive Director. “The truth is that we do not have competitive advantage in anything that would involve industrial production. So what we want to do is to have some creative and innovative skills to be able to translate what we have into something that would enable us to have a higher value added, and higher returns,” Mrs. Coke Hamilton outlined to participants who attended one of the functions held during Research Week at the UWI, Cave Hill campus.


Using the Creative Industries as an example, the Executive Director lamented the fact that while the entire region has spoken about that segment of Caribbean economies, countries have not really transformed this industry to maximize the fullest potential for everyone to benefit.


 “The Creative industry contributes about 5.1 per cent to gross domestic product in Jamaica and I think that is under reported,” she said. “The point is that the amount of money that comes into our countries from the creative industries is not known in such a way that allows us to promote that sector and engage the countries in a more strategic way with respect to the creative industries,” said Mrs. Coke Hamilton.


“That is another area where Caribbean Export will be focusing attention in the coming years…we have to have information to be able to move forward and to do things,” she emphasized while suggesting that there is a broad role in this for the University of the West Indies in terms of research.


She also spoke about the launching of an annual Caribbean Export Outlook which will be outlining major export markets, potential markets and niche markets. “These will be opportunities for our private sector,” the Caribbean Export official promised.