Plans are in place to update and expand the scope and reach of the Jamaica Trade Information Portal (JTIP), says the Trade Board Limited (TBL).
“The dynamic trade environment in which we operate requires us to be innovative and strategic in how we harvest, interpret, and disseminate trade-related information and data. JTIP, therefore, needs to be a well-organised and efficient source of current and relevant information that is expansive and easily accessible,” Trade Administrator and TBL Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Hugh Blake, told JIS News.
To this end, he said the TBL “is pleased to inform that plans are afoot to update and expand the scope and reach of the portal through the presentation of its content in English, French and Spanish.”
The JTIP is an informational portal, and the only one of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean that provides exporters and importers with data on the regulatory requirements to conduct trade transactions.
The facility was launched in May 2019 by TBL, in partnership with the World Bank and several other government entities that are custodians of the information shared on the portal.
“The establishment of the JTIP signifies Jamaica’s fulfilment of its commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, under Article I, which speaks to making information available through the internet to all traders, domestic and foreign,” Dr. Blake said.
Additionally, JTIP is critical to improving Jamaica’s competitiveness through its ranking on the Global Competitive Index and is, therefore, a means of stimulating social and economic growth.
Dr. Blake shared that in addition to expanding the scope and reach of the portal, it is important to include trade in services (TIS), in addition to trade in goods.
“Increasingly, all sectors of the economy are recognising TIS as an area of trade with huge potential for recovery and further growth in the Jamaican economy. With TIS already accounting for approximately one-third of the country’s GDP, it is an important area of focus in Jamaica’s bilateral, regional, and international trade agreements. Its inclusion in JTIP will, therefore, be significant in our economic recovery and future growth,” he explained.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn, in reporting on the achievements of the Ministry during his 2022/23 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on May 17, said JTIP has become one of the primary tools through which transparent and predictable trade information is disseminated.
“Since its launch in 2019, visitors to the website have grown to over 13,000 per year and as of April 2022, 34,500 users from 179 countries have visited the site,” said Dr. Dunn.
Meanwhile, Dr. Blake noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the economic progress of most, if not all countries around the world.
“Jamaica, like many other countries, is grappling with its share of the social and economic setbacks. Our GDP, which is heavily reliant on tourism, declined by approximately 9.9 per cent in 2020 as compared with a recorded growth of 0.9 per cent in 2019. This is undoubtedly one of the largest economic setbacks in Jamaica’s history,” he said.
“Valuable lessons are being learnt. We are experiencing that trading, in the context of the pandemic, has resulted in changes that have led to the accelerated digitisation of how we trade and in the demand for the types of goods and services traded,” the CEO added.
Dr. Blake explained that in this new context, exporters and importers are finding that trade data, specifically information related to market intelligence, market access, and trade agreements, are vital to future success.
“The Trade Board Limited is, therefore, committed to the best possible trade facilitation in export and import through the provision of vital information to traders and in achieving the necessary changes in the way we do business without any major disruption in the services we provide,” he said.