Wanted: good corporate citizens

From the keynote address by the prime minister of Jamaica at Stanford University's Conference on International Business in Developing Countries.m Jamaica is now particularly interested in the investor who is a practicing businessman wishing to carry out a project himself, or operate one under his direct supervision, and who comes to us with the know-how, the markets, and some capital: we will provide the rest of the capital, the manpower and the required land or shelter.

This is the fast-track route to investment that we need most at this time because it is likely to pay the quickest dividends and bring us immediate contact with production, marketing and earnings. It eliminates the long decisionmaking process, the studies and production tryouts that are necessary when large-scale investors of capital need a preview of success.

Of course you may say one who comes in easily may go out as easily. This is true, and safeguards must be established - such as opportunities for technological spinoffs in the host country and joint-venture relationships.

There are other opportunities and possibilities for partnerships with foreign business - for example, where the host country has the expertise but lacks access to the market or the ability to penetrate it successfully.

We have learned that it does not make sense for us to start from scratch or to try to go it alone in these cases, but either to engage the expertise from within the market or to work out joint ventures with corporations who can develop a marketing structure for your product.

If the image of the Caribbean in the past was that its business was mainly pleasure, it is certainly time now to change that perception. The business of the Caribbean, like that of America, is business.

We have just introduced measures that will liberate the manufacturing and export sectors from licensing constraints, expand the pool of foreign exchange available to purchase raw materials and capital goods, and handsomely increase incentives for the local exporter.

With these measures in place we are targeting to build on last year's 3 percent growth in manufacturing with a 5 percent growth of the sector this year, and an overall 3 percent growth of the economy, assuming that the international recession does not provide unforeseen shocks.

Where there is no divergence of objectives at the bottom line between a host country and guest business, as is the case with Jamaica, you have the prerequisites for harmony in whatever areas of difference may arise in the relationship.

There are naturally circumstances in which the interestsm of an international corporate business and those of a developing country may diverge. I only wish to say that we have found that differences are seldom entrenched and yield to amicable and constructive solutions in almost every case. This is so for the very simple reason that any international business that succeeds, or that wishes to succeed in a developing country, must be a good corporate citizen of that country and consequently seek, in its own planning, to harmonize its own objectives to those of its host.

Our experience has shown that even in wrong times, the right policies, the right will, and the right partners can achieve the right results.

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