Customs reports US$15.1 billion in exports

Customs reports US$15.1 billion in exports

Merchandise exports averaged US$465 million from 2016-2020

Sunday, January 24, 2021

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The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) says for the five year period commencing January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2020, the total value of exported goods declared was US$15.1 billion.

Of this amount, bank and currency notes accounted for 53 per cent, bauxite accounted for 27 per cent, petroleum products accounted for 4 per cent, and all other commodities (merchandise exports) accounted for 16 per cent.

According to the JCA revenue analyst Shornalee Jackson, the value of merchandise exports averaged US$465 million annually over the last five years.

Between the period 2017 and 2017, the export value grew by US $39 million or 8 per cent from US$464 million in 2016, to US$503 million in 2017.

It then declined by 12 per cent US$55 million to US$448 million in 2018, but picked up in 2019 when it grew by US$7 million or 2 per cent to US$455 million.

“This recovery to a positive growth trajectory indicated that you the Jamaican exporters were expanding your economic activities into international markets,” Jackson said, adding that despite the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the trading landscape, exporters' contribution to Jamaica's growth and development has been consistent, averaging 3 per cent over the last five years.

Jackson was speaking at JCA's online forum held last Wednesday, under the theme 'Spotlight on Export – Embracing Opportunities, Confronting Vulnerabilities'.

She further indicated that while merchandise exports declined due to the health crisis, only marginally by US $1million from US$455 million recorded in 2019, to US $454 million for 2020.

“What is of note though is that the volume of exports was positive for 2020 relative to 2019, growing by 48 per cent. Similarly in 2018 where a reduction in the value of export was observed relative to 2017, the export volume was positive growing at 37 per cent,” she said.

“This divergence in the movement of export volume and value may indicate some nominal factors and not any real contraction in exports as exporters may have had to deal with lower prices for the commodities on the international markets,” Jackson continued.

She however further indicated that the increase in the volume between 2019 and 2020 was driven by items relating Tariff Chapter 25 – salt, sulphur, earths and stones, plastering materials, lime and cement.

The US, Canada and the UK accounted for the most significant percentage of merchandise exports value.

Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for 30 per cent of the value of exports in 2016 and 2018. For 2018 and 2019, its contribution was 27 per cent, while for 2020 its contribution was reduced to 23 per cent due to low value of export to Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St Lucia, and Costa Rica.

“There are certainly opportunities in the crisis, so we are confident that export value will rebound and be stronger post-COVID-19 epoch. The challenge, however, may be how to strengthen and sustain these supply linkages after the crisis. Our view of exports should be akin to a balanced financial portfolio that is comprising diversified products to diversified markets to mitigate risks from economic shocks,” she said.

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