Trade information portal launched
The country’s trade environment and procedures have been significantly enhanced with the launch of the Jamaica Trade Information Portal.
The portal provides a single authoritative source for trade information relating to import-export regulations, requirements and processes, which businesses can easily access at any time.
The database includes information on standards, tariffs, fees, levies and applicable penalties; various authorisations; inspections and verifications; and details about trade agreements while highlighting opportunities.
There are downloadable forms for applications, licences, and permits, as well as links to regulatory and various bodies engaged in trade facilitation.
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, noted that portal will make it easier for local and international business interests to move valuable goods and services and, in doing so, add value to the economy.
“This portal is indicative of our strong and clear commitment to improving Jamaica’s business environment,” he said at the launch held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on Thursday.
He noted that the commitment to enhancing the business environment is further solidified by the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ministries, departments and agencies that are custodians of the information shared on the portal and the Trade Broad Limited, which is in charge of the system.
“The information portal further represents Jamaica’s efforts to fulfil its commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, under Article I, which speaks to making information available through the Internet,” Shaw said.
The World Bank Doing Business Report 2019 indicated that even though Jamaica achieved a positive absolute score – increasing from 66.92 to 67.47 over 2108 – the country’s overall ranking declined by five points from 70th to 75th.
As it pertains to trading across borders, notwithstanding ongoing efforts, that indicator declined in ranking from 130 to 134.
“Initiatives such as the Jamaica Trade Information Portal show that we are on our way to improving this standing. I, therefore, urge us all to ensure that the value of the portal is swiftly channelled into the wider Trade Facilitation Reform Programme, so our traders and businesses can leverage its provisions,” Shaw said.
International Finance Corporation’s Principal Investment Officer and Head for the English-speaking Caribbean, Judith Green, hailed the portal as a useful tool, which has to be kept up to date.
The Jamaica Trade Information Portal project was supported by the Trade Facilitation Support Programme managed by the World Bank Group and funded by nine donor partners.