Shaw announces removal of some permits, licences issued by Trade Board

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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CABINET has approved the removal of specific permits, licences and charges currently being issued by the Trade Board which are no longer applicable.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw made the announcement yesterday during his contribution to the sectoral debate in the House of Representatives.

The development comes six months after the minister indicated that he would make a submission to Cabinet for the removal of between seven and 10 import and export fees, which are no longer relevant.

He gave that indication last October at the launch of the National Foreign Trade Policy, and a project for establishing the National Trade Information Portal, at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston.

He said the fees were identified for elimination after a review of a range of fees and charges applied for import and export.

“Over the years different fees are appropriated and they stack one on top of the other then after a while, regardless of changes in technology, changes in approach. If you don't do a review of your charges, then you're going to find, as we have now found, that some of these charges, are extraneous, unnecessary and unnecessarily burdensome on our importers and exporters,” he had told the Jamaica Observer at the launch of the National Foreign Trade Policy last year.

Minister Shaw told the House yesterday that the ministry has now received the green light from Cabinet for the removal of some permits and licences, to the benefit of investors and producers.

The removal of the fees is being done within the context of the country's commitment under the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement, to reduce the overall time and cost to trade and create a more agile business and trading environment, said Shaw.

“The benefits that will be derived from the removal of these irrelevant permit applications positions our investors and producers on the tarmac for take-off and complements well our other initiatives such as the Jamaica Trade Information Portal and single window facilities,” Shaw stated yesterday.

He further informed the House that on May 16, the Trade Information Portal will be formally launched, placing critical information at the fingertips of all importers, making tools readily available including standards, procedures, tariff, fees, taxes, levies and applicable penalties; various authorisations, and inspections and verifications.

The portal will also make available the details of trade agreements and opportunities; downloadable forms for applications, licences, and permits and links to regulatory and various other bodies engaged in trade facilitation.

“The Jamaica Trade Information Portal will provide the responsiveness and agility our producers and service providers need to become more competitive in the global market,” Shaw stated.

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