Gov't welcomes increased French interest in Jamaica

The Government has welcomed the increase in French private-sector activities in Jamaica and support for the island's efforts to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth and economic development.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, noted that a number of French companies have successfully bid for local contracts.

These include divestment of the Kingston Container Terminal (KCT) to Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited, a local company formed as a subsidiary of the French global terminal operators, the CMA CGM Group.

“Jamaica highly values (its) French connection...; our bilateral relations continue to be buoyant. This is strengthened by high-level diplomatic representation, sincere people-to-people cooperation and exchanges and increased business interest in Jamaica,” she said.

Johnson Smith was speaking at the launch of the commercial exhibition and a cultural festival dubbed 'A Touch of France' at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on November 8.

Yesterday a delegation of business leaders from MEDEF International – an umbrella group for French private-sector companies – arrived in the island for a two-day visit to explore viable opportunities for companies in France and Jamaica.

Areas being examined include water sanitation, water distribution, energy and aeronautics.

Chairman of the France-Central America and Caribbean Business Council of MEDEF International, Jean-François Tallec, noted that 10 business leaders and a government official travelled to Jamaica “with the objective of promoting initiatives of the most dynamic sectors of France”.

“We (also aimed) to establish connections with the local business community and contribute to the strengthening of the economic ties between our countries,” he added.

Meanwhile, Johnson Smith emphasised that the Government is giving priority to trade and investment promotion “as a major aspect of our relations with our bilateral partners”.

She used the opportunity to congratulate the Embassy of the Republic of France for the inauguration of the French Visa Application Centre, located at the DHL building in New Kingston.

“We know how much of a great difference this centre will give for our visa applicants for certain categories of stay in France as well as stays in overseas territories,” Johnson Smith said.

In his remarks, Logistics and Infrastructure Manager at Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Don Gittens, said his agency is keen on advancing business relations between the countries and continues to work with the French Embassy.

“We also continue to seek opportunities in the French market with several missions to the country, with special focus on the creative industries, renewable energy, logistics and the tourism sectors,” he said.

He pointed out that JAMPRO will continue to support 'A Touch of France', by helping to coordinate business activities, including panel discussions on logistics and renewable energy, which are key areas of focus for investment in Jamaica.

Started in Jamaica in 2000 by President of Club France Jamaica, Pierre Lemaire, the exhibition, which is in its 11th staging, is an opportunity to showcase French culture from the mainland to its overseas departments and includes fashion, cuisine, music and dance.

For his part, French Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency, Denys Wibaux commended Lemaire for orchestrating 'A Touch of France' and wished this year's staging well.

Other speakers at the launch of the exhibition include Managing Director of Total Jamaica Limited, Chris Okonmah; and Chief Executive Officer of Saint International Modelling Agency, Deiwght Peters.

Jamaica Observer
Published Date: 
Friday, November 9, 2018