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PIOJ optimistic

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PIOJ optimistic

Agency says Logistics Hub Initiative and Special Economic Zones projects will drive growth

BY KARENA BENNETT
Observer business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 21, 2019

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WITH an estimated 1.7 per cent growth in GDP for the October to December 2018 quarter, the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is predicting that growth of up to three per cent, over the next five years, will be led by projects associated with the Logistics Hub Initiative and the Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Jamaica’s planned Logistics Hub Initiative and Special Economic Zones, along with the port and other major infrastructure developments and the ‘Blue Economy’ were yesterday highlighted by PIOJ Director General Dr Wayne Henry as the main drivers of medium-to-long-term growth for Jamaica.

He was speaking at the institute’s Review of Economic Performance for the period October to December 2018.

Despite the improved quarterly performance, which brought to six, the consecutive years of economic growth for Jamaica and the highest annual growth average of 1.8 per cent over the past 12 years, Henry noted that, increasingly, there have been questions as to the initiatives that are expected to drive growth during the medium term, given that several of the current growth projects come to an end within the next two years.

Henry outlined that growth is expected to emanate from Jamaica’s 3,900-hectares Logistics Hub Initiative, which is expected to create approximately 100,000 jobs from capital expenditure of US$28 billion.

“The Government of Jamaica is in the process of finalising a bilateral agreement with the Government of Singapore and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise to provide the technical assistance during the implementation phase,” he told media representatives.

A total of eight Special Economic Zones are included among the major pipeline projects proposed for Jamaica with an estimated capital investment of US$8.9 billion, covering 6,000 hectares (14,846 acres) of land with focus on global business process outsourcing (BPOs), distribution, logistics services and manufacturing.

The PIOJ director general said the country is expected to benefit from emerging areas to include industries such as ship repairs, aviation, automobile, electronics, clean energy, limestone, and creative industry, among others.

“By the end of 2019 it is expected that a total of 106 existing Freezone companies would have transitioned to the SEZ. Under the SEZ, existing companies would no longer be entitled to a zero-tax regime but instead will be required to pay Corporate Income Tax (CIT) of 12.5 per cent. This is expected to generate additional revenue to support growth,” Henry said.

In 2020, it is anticipated that there will be the start-up of at least three of the new SEZs, namely, 876 Logistics Limited; Phase 1 of the JISCO SEZ and Industrial Park; and the Caymanas Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) North. A year later, the PIOJ expects that there will be a roll-out of the Caymanas SEZ South and the Jamaica German Ship Repair, while 2022 will see the undertaking of phase II of the JISCO SEZ and Industrial Park and the Amaterra SEZ.

As for the port and other major infrastructure developments, Henry stated that the Port Royal Cruise Port, using Sea-Walk technology for a floating cruise pier, is being implemented with the support of key stakeholders over a three-to-four year period.

Development work will also continue at Reynolds Pier for the Ocho Rios Cruise Port to be able to accommodate larger vessels, and improve the aesthetics of the port, while completion of an additional 157,000 sq ft of new purpose-built Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (KPO) facilities in Portmore to create approximately 4,000 new jobs in the BPO sector.

Jamaica’s ‘Blue Economy’, which encompasses the sustainable management and use of marine resources whilst simultaneously optimising its economic and social benefits, was one of the key economic opportunities highlighted by the PIOJ.

According to Henry, Jamaica has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) more than 20 times greater than its land mass and, therefore, efforts are being focused on ensuring that the blue economy is fully integrated in the country’s long-term development.

He said policies are being implemented to ensure that marine life is managed, while developing and exploiting goods and services provided by the marine environment. These include goods such as fish and shellfish, as well as biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Henry noted that some of the specific initiatives being implemented by Jamaica including the development of a climate smart fisheries management plan, the implementation of a coral reef restoration programme and the exploration of species diversification for export purposes, such as sea cucumbers which are in high demand by Asian countries for medicinal purposes.

“… The potential for generating more robust rates of growth in the medium-to-long term exists. Concentrated efforts must, therefore, be focused on ensuring that implementation is in keeping with targeted timelines,” Henry said.

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UK’s Johnson ‘very worried’ about trade tensions, tariff hikes

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UK’s Johnson ‘very worried’ about trade tensions, tariff hikes

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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BIARRITZ, France (AFP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday that he was “very concerned” about the trade tensions between the US and China, saying their tit-for-tat tariff hikes were harmful for the global economy.

“I’m very worried about the way it’s going, the growth of protectionism, of tariffs that we’re seeing,” Johnson said as he arrived at the G7 summit in the French resort of Biarritz, where he was to make his full international debut as Britain’s premier.

“Those who support tariffs are at risk of incurring the blame for the downturn in the global economy,” he said. “This is not the way to proceed.”

The question of tariffs is of particular concern for Johnson as he prepares to lead Britain out of the EU with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit on October 31 looking increasingly likely — which experts warn would cost both sides dearly.

His remarks echoed earlier warnings from the European Union, which warned that the escalating trade spat between Washington and Beijing could drive economies around the world into recession.

“Trade wars will lead to recession, while trade deals will boost the economy,” EU President Donald Tusk as G7 leaders descended on Biarritz for a three-day summit.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is hosting the summit, also weighed in, saying trade tensions were “bad for everyone”.

“We have to achieve some form of de-escalation, stabilise things, and avoid this trade war that is taking place all over,” he said, just hours after Trump threatened to impose heavy punitive tariffs on France over its tax on US tech giants.

Trade disputes appear set to dominate the agenda of this year’s G7 summit, with Tusk and Macron warning that an ambitious deal between the EU and Latin America’s Mercosur bloc was at risk over Brazil’s response to wildfires in the Amazon.

But Tusk also said the EU would respond in kind if the US imposed tariffs on French wine.

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Trump names Jamaica among illicit drug producing nations

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Trump names Jamaica among illicit drug producing nations

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — The United States has named four Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries as major drug transit or illicit drug producing countries.

President Donald Trump in his “Presidential Determination on Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2020,” named The Bahamas, Belize, Haiti and Jamaica.

The other countries named by Trump are Afghanistan, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

In his statement, Trump noted that a country’s presence on the foregoing list is not necessarily a reflection of its government’s counter narcotics efforts or level of cooperation with the United States.

“The reason countries are placed on the list is the combination of geographic, commercial, and economic factors that allow drugs to transit or be produced, even if a government has engaged in robust and diligent narcotics control measures.”

Trump said his administration has devoted unprecedented resources to combating the scourge of illicit drugs in the United States.

He said this includes strengthening the US borders and expanding programmes to prevent illicit drug use and aid the recovery and treatment of those who need it.

“We are making steady progress to turn the tide of our country’s drug epidemic, but more needs to be accomplished. This includes further efforts beyond our nation’s borders, by governments of countries where dangerous illegal drugs originate,” he said.

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India 14-0 at lunch, lead Windies by 89 runs

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India 14-0 at lunch, lead Windies by 89 runs

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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NORTH SOUND, Antigua and Barbuda (AFP) — India were 14 without loss in their second innings, a lead of 89 runs, at lunch on the third day of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Saturday.

Brief scores

India 297 (A Rahane 81, R Jadeja 58, K L Rahul 44; K Roach 4-66) and 14-0 v West Indies 222 (R Chase 48; I Sharma 5-43)

Toss: West Indies


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