AMCHAM advocates for continuation of Duty-Free Imports from Jamaica

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica (AMCHAM Jamaica), participated in federal hearings before the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in Washington DC last Thursday, as the USITC begins their periodic review of the duty-free access of goods from Jamaica and the region to the United States.

AMCHAM Jamaica CEO, Jodi-Ann Quarrie, represented the Chamber at the hearings on March 9, 2023, where she gave oral testimony defending Jamaica’s use of the duty-free regime. She also answered questions about potential impediments for Jamaican businesses as the USITC reviews the economic impact of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) and related programmes, more commonly known in Jamaica as the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI). These programmes allow for duty-free imports from designated countries including Jamaica.

After the hearings, Quarrie said, “We must ensure that a clear market for Jamaican goods in the United States continues to be maintained. We value this platform to express our perspectives and share valuable insights with the USITC regarding the economic impact of the programmes on Jamaica and the Caribbean region.”

Among the issues discussed were regulatory costs, the difficulty in securing inspections, the insecurity concerning the iterative process of U.S. trade law renewals, female participation in the labor force, and the impact of the Jamaican diaspora.

President of AMCHAM Jamaica, Ann-Dawn Young Sang, emphasized the importance of representing the Jamaican business community in these hearings. “The revenues from exports to the US constitute a large part of Jamaica’s foreign exchange earnings. It is therefore crucial that the members of the Chamber are able to be represented and that solutions are put forward for the improvement of the CBI program. Because of our close working relationship with the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC, AMCHAM Jamaica is sensitive to the need to continue this partnership between the United States and Jamaica to build strong economies, strengthen ties, and to contribute to the recovery of Jamaican businesses post-Covid.”

AMCHAM Jamaica was the only Jamaican representative at the hearings. Other participants included Zulfikar Ally, Minister Counselor of the Embassy of the Republic of Guyana, and Industry association representatives from Haiti, and Antigua and Barbuda among others.

The decision on the future of the CBI will take into consideration how Jamaica has utilized the programme, and the report on the findings of the USITC is expected to be completed in September 2023. AMCHAM Jamaica will continue to advocate for the continuation of the regime in the best interests of the Jamaican business community.

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