KINGSTON, Jamaica, (CMC) – The American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica (AMCHAM) has appeared before the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) as the latter began its periodic review of the duty-free access of goods from Jamaica and the region to the United States.
AMCHAM Jamaica chief executive officer, Jodi-Ann Quarrie, represented the Chamber at the hearings last Thursday where she gave oral testimony defending Jamaica’s use of the duty-free regime.
She also answered questions about potential impediments for Jamaican businesses as the USITC reviews the economic impact of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act and related programmes, more commonly known in Jamaica as the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI). These programmes allow for duty-free imports from designated countries including Jamaica.
“We must ensure that a clear market for Jamaican goods in the United States continues to be maintained. We value this platform to express our perspectives and share valuable insights with the USITC regarding the economic impact of the programmes on Jamaica and the Caribbean region,” the AMCHAM official said.
Among the issues discussed were regulatory costs, the difficulty in securing inspections, the insecurity concerning the iterative process of US trade law renewals, female participation in the labour force, and the impact of the Jamaican Diaspora.
AMCHAM Jamaica president, Ann-Dawn Young Sang, said the revenues from exports to the US constitute a large part of Jamaica’s foreign exchange earnings.
“It is therefore crucial that the members of the Chamber are able to be represented and that solutions are put forward for the improvement of the CBI programme,” she said, underscoring the importance of representing the Jamaican business community in these hearings.
“Because of our close working relationship with the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, Jamaica is sensitive to the need to continue this partnership between the United States and Jamaica to build strong economies, strengthen ties, and to contribute to the recovery of Jamaican businesses post-COVID,” she added.
AMCHAM Jamaica was the only Jamaican representative at the hearings. Other participants included Zulfikar Ally, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Guyana, and Industry association representatives from Haiti, and Antigua and Barbuda among others.
AMCHAM said the decision on the future of the CBI will take into consideration how Jamaica has utilised the programme, and the report on the findings of the USITC is expected to be completed in September 2023.