More regional trade would boost growth

MONTEGO BAY, St James — CARIBBEAN countries would enjoy a growth spurt if they traded and invested more among themselves and with Central America, says Ambassador Albert Ramdin, Assistant Secretary General of the Organisaton of American States (OAS).

Obstacles posed by language barriers, visa restrictions, legal provisions and investment regulations, which prevent trading between the regional nations and their Central American counterparts,can be beaten, he said.

“If these challenges, for example, can be overcome — and I am convinced they can we will see greater trading volume and more growth in our economies.There is still a world of untapped potential,” Ramdin said.The combined market of Central America and the Caribbean has 56 million people,which is “a sizeable market for small and medium size companies to thrive on”, he said.

The Republic of Suriname national was speaking Friday at the opening of the 14th Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) three-day trade exposition at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

Ambassador Ramdin noted that the theme, unleashing innovaton, would require a crucial ingredient if it is to be realised.

“Unleashing innovation will, however, be meaningless if it does not have the critical support of key players. This is where the politics and the policy come in. If our schools don’t encourage creative thinking, or our government policies make little room for innovators and our banks and development agencies are limited in their scope, then innovation will be undermined,” the OAS Assistant Secretary General noted. He further noted: “Delay, uncertainty, poor quality and inefficient legal processes only serve to hinder innovation and undermine the potential for economic growth and job creation”.

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