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AmCham advocates for Jamaica’s duty-free imports in US federal hearings

The American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica has appeared before the United States International Trade Commission, USITC, which is doing its periodic review of the duty-free access of goods from Jamaica and the region to the United States.

AmCham Jamaica CEO Jodi-Ann Quarrie gave oral testimony last Thursday defending Jamaica’s use of the duty-free regime in an appearance before the USITC, the association said in a press release.

She also answered questions about potential impediments for Jamaican businesses as the USITC reviews the economic impact of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, known as CBERA, and related programmes. The legislation underpins the Caribbean Basin Initiative, a special trading regime with the United States, which allows for duty-free imports from designated countries, including Jamaica.

“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,” the AmCham official said.

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

AmCham Jamaica President Ann-Dawn Young Sang said 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 programme,” she said, underscoring the importance of representing the Jamaican business community in these hearings.

“Because of our close working relationship with the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, 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,” Young Sang added in the AmCham release.

AmCham Jamaica said it was the only Jamaican representative at the hearings, and that other participants included Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Guyana, Zulfikar Ally, and industry association representatives from Haiti and Antigua & Barbuda, among others.

AmCham Jamaica said the decision on the future of the Caribbean Basin Initiative will take into consideration how Jamaica has utilised the programme. The report on the findings of the USITC is expected to be completed in September 2023.

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