Jamaica's economic sectors reflect the small size of the country,
which places real limits on the availability of natural resources,
population, and domestic markets. During the late 1990s,
Jamaica's economy suffered from a variety of setbacks that
hampered the growth of its goods-producing sectors—all of which
experienced declines, with the exception of agriculture. The economy is
still reeling from the crisis experienced in the financial sector in
1996, although the government's intervention to stabilize the
banking system led to a growth of 4.8 percent in the services sector in
1999. Increasing political violence also held back growth in the tourist
industry. Jamaica's economy relies heavily on trade with other
countries, so changes in the preferential trade regimes it enjoyed with
the United States and the European Union, combined with an overvalued
currency, has significantly shrunk its export market.
Recognizing these obstacles, Jamaica has targeted certain economic
sectors to fuel the economy's growth.
Jamaica's 15-year plan called the National Industrial Policy,
adopted in 1996, identified tourism, shipping and port services,
apparel, agricultural processing, minerals, bauxite, and alumina as
industries to target for export growth and expansion. The World Trade
Organization (WTO) highlighted the services sector, especially tourism,
as critical to Jamaica's development.