British MP with J’can roots named region’s new UK trade envoy

United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed a Member of Parliament with Jamaican roots as the new trade envoy to Jamaica and the rest of the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Darren Henry, who was born in Bedford, England to a Jamaican father and a Trinidadian mother, will be the trade envoy for Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis as well as Trinidad and Tobago.

His role as trade envoy will involve supporting British trade and investment objectives, promoting the Commonwealth Caribbean as a great place for UK companies to do business and encouraging Jamaican businesses to use the new CARIFORUM (CF)-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Henry will be involved in virtual engagements including meetings with Government ministers, hosting high-level visitors from Jamaica and talking to businesses in the UK including those belonging to the Diaspora.

In responding to the appointment, British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad argued that this was a further signal of the UK’s trade and investment ambitions for the region.

He noted that it comes just three months after the launch of the UK Trade Partnerships Programme, a plan of action to work with businesses and trade-support institutions in Jamaica, St Lucia, and the Dominican Republic to boost exports in the creative and speciality foods sectors.

“This appointment will add more momentum for businesses in both the UK and Jamaica to make the most of the opportunities that are now opening up,” said Ahmad

“Food, renewable energy, music and sports are just a few obvious sectors where there is real demand. Underpinning trade is the appetite for support that is available from financial institutions in the UK, which include Jamaican institutions in London. I’m also confident that Mr Henry… will bring great energy and fresh insight to this role,” declared Ahmad.

Country head for the UK Department for International Trade Sharifa Powell said she looks forward to the additional emphasis which the new trade envoy will bring to expanding trade and investment relations between Jamaica and the UK.

“Notwithstanding COVID, we have continued to see strong interest by UK firms in the Jamaican market across various sectors and continued signals of plans to capitalise on the UK-CF EPA by Jamaican businesses,” said Powell.

“By amplifying the array of commercial opportunities in the region to UK firms, Mr Henry will play a significant role in helping us further grow the current £2.8 billion in imports and exports of goods and services with these Caricom trading nations,” added Powell.

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