A new export niche for Jamaica?

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Much of the lament following the latest failed talks of the Doha Round centered on liberalization of trade in agriculture. The hope, at least in part, was that a reduction in subsidies in the developed world could provide a stimulus to farmers in the developing world (never mind that the global rise in food prices would have been exacerbated in the short run by a reduction in subsidies). Coupled with the failed talks is a slowdown in the OECD economies, reducing overall demand for exports from the developing world. What's a developing country to do?

Jamaica has an idea - an article in the most recent International Higher Education points out that the island country is trying to position itself as an exporter of educational services. Forget about trade in physical goods; the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is the way to go, at least according to Jamaica's policymakers:

Jamaican trade policymakers suggested that GATS presented opportunities to position the country's higher education sector as an export industry. They proposed marketing the country's internationally recognized English-language higher education system to Latin American students, similar to how Australia and New Zealand marketed their system to Asian students. These policymakers also regarded the emigration of Jamaican graduates as contributing positively to the economy in the form of remittances. They were less concerned about potential threats from liberalization and the WTO.


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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