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Trade board and Anti-Dumping to be merged

Published:Monday | February 22, 2016 | 4:12 PMTameka Gordon

Government is actively considering a merger of the Trade Board and Anti-Dumping & Subsidies Commission (ADSC), on which a decision is expected by the end of the current financial year, Wednesday Business has learned.

If the decision favours the amalgamation, it would effectively reverse a split-up of the functions of the Trade Board more than a decade-and-a-half ago.

Initial reaction from private sector interests indicates that they consider merger a good move.

The ADSC investigates cases of dumping and improper subsidisation of imported goods on the local market while the Trade Board is the country's certifying authority for goods exported under the various trade agreements as well as the importation of goods. Both are portfolio agencies of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce.

As part of the modernisation and transformation of the public sector, the industry ministry said it has been looking at "its various departments and agencies ... to see if there can be greater efficiencies and functionalities in the delivery of service."

"It is in this context that the possible merger of the ADSC and the Trade Board has been mooted," the ministry said in emailed responses to Wednesday Business queries.

Research on the amalgamation is under way but the process is "in no way completed," said the industry ministry, while noting that it was not prepared to comment further on the rationale for consideration of the merger at this time.

Meanwhile, executive director of the ADSC, Andrea Dawes, said the agency "is not aware of any such merger" and as such, was not in a position to comment on its efficacy. The Trade Board declined to comment.

ADSC was created by statute but is effectively a spin-off of the Trade Board. Dawes said in its early years, ADSC operated from the offices of the Trade Board, but moved into its own offices around 2001 and is now located at the Jampro Building on Trafalgar Road in New Kingston.

Dennis Chung, chief executive officer of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, says the group welcomes the move as a means of eradicating duplication within the public sector.

"We always support any merger where there are duplications, for efficiencies, so we agree with it," Chung said.

The ADSC was birthed from functions that were previously carried out by the Trade Board and the proposed merger is poised to reunite the functions, insiders say.

The ADSC was established under the 1999 Customs Duties (Dumping and Subsidies) Act. As noted on its website, its regulatory powers extend to determining remedies such as anti-dumping and countervailing duties, to defend Jamaican producers as well as foster fair competition in the domestic Jamaican market.

The Trade Board operates under the Trade Act. It is charged with issuing import and export licences for across several industries.