US aluminum tariffs still have little to no effect on J'can businesses — Johnson Smith

Thursday, November 08, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, says the tariffs imposed by the United States (US) on aluminium and steel continue to have little or no effect on Jamaican businesses.

Johnson Smith, who was addressing the quarterly press briefing at the ministry's Dominica Drive headquarters in New Kingston yesterday, attributed this to the “alternatives and flexibility” that exist in the trading arrangements with countries that Jamaica exports to “such that we have not been impacted”.

“In fact, we have been advised by the relevant line Ministry that Jamaica's earnings from bauxite and alumina for the first half of 2018 were 60 per cent and 95 per cent, respectively, of the entire export values in 2017. If that (trend) continues, we will, in fact, have grown in the sector,” she said.

She said the improvements that have been achieved in the sector underscore “the importance of monitoring, maintaining a cool head [and] ensuring that you have data and analysis, so that you do not risk causing unnecessary panic within the sector and among the players”.

The US Administration imposed tariffs of 10 per cent and 25 per cent on aluminium and steel, respectively, citing national security grounds. The tariffs took effect on March 23.

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