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Trade Board wants vehicle importers to play by the rules

Published:Thursday | November 5, 2015 | 11:00 AM

Trade administrator at the Trade Board Limited Victor Cummings has asserted that motor vehicles that arrive in Jamaica without the requisite import licences are being handled by the Jamaica Customs.

"Any vehicle that is imported for domestic use without a requisite permit will be breached by the Customs when the importer attempts to clear the vehicles from the port," he noted.

Asked by The Gleaner whether the Trade Board was strict in its observance of the laws, or planned to implement effective measures to stop the practice of vehicles being imported without the requisite licences, Cummings said: "The agency is intent on continuing to observe the letter of the law."

Cummings was also quizzed about an importer who reportedly brought into the island 100 vehicles in August without licences, followed by two other batches without licences in September and October. He said: "To the best of my knowledge, many vehicles are stored on the port, as the area is a free zone, and vehicles can be stored before they are sent to their final destinations."

Cummings emphasised that the Trade Board does not countenance breach of its laws to facilitate importers of motor vehicles without valid import licences before the vehicle being exported to Jamaica. He said that Provision Five of the Motor Vehicle Import Policy, in effect since April 3, 2014, requires importers of motor vehicles to be granted an import permit before arrival in Jamaica.

The provision, he said, states that "all motor cars, trucks designed specifically for the transportation of passengers, trucks designed specifically for the transportation of cargo, pickup trucks, panel vans, motor cycles, tractors, trailers, all-terrain vehicles, two-wheeled, self-balancing, battery-powered electric vehicles, and specific motorised equipment require import permits (order and clearance permit) before shipment to Jamaica."

Noting that the import permits are obtained from the Trade Board, Cummings said that this provision, almost verbatim, was also a requirement in the earlier Motor Vehicle Import Policy, effective July 2004 to April 2014. He said that Provision 18.0 of the earlier policy also outlined the procedures for obtaining an import permit. "Specifically, it stated that motor cars, pickups, small trucks, vans, buses, and motor cycles over 700 cc require specific import permits (order and clearance permit) before shipment to Jamaica, that can be obtained from the Trade Board Limited."

In addition, Cummings said that since 2009, the Trade Board has had the notification on its website that an import licence is required before the shipping of any item. Cummings told The Gleaner that the Trade Board has issued press releases, e-mails, and communicated to dealers and the general public on this matter in an effort to get motor vehicle importers to play by the rules.