KINGSTON, Jamaica - Duty-free importation of European automobiles is to come into effect this year, says Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Jamaica Marianne Van Steen.
“As a trading partner, I am very proud to announce that after 15 years, we have a trade agreement, a free-trade agreement in force. We have arrived at the end of almost all transitional arrangements of that agreement, which means… that if you like European cars, as from this year, you will be able to import them without paying any duties,” she said.
Ambassador Van Steen was addressing the Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica Europe Day Reception 2023, on Tuesday, at the EU offices in Kingston.
Ambassador Van Steen said the EU remains a committed partner in assisting Jamaica to achieve its development goals.
“As a development partner, the EU continues to support the citizens and the Government of Jamaica to reach its own development goals enshrined in Vision 2030 and also in its efforts to achieve its sustainable development goals. We support Jamaica financially and with technical expertise in order to help the country to become a stronger trading nation to attract more investments in upholding democracy and the rule of law,” she said.
As a member of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) Group of countries, Jamaica is part of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), signed in 2008.
For Jamaica, the EPA has made it easier for people and businesses from the two regions to invest and trade with each other.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, said the Government welcomes the development and urged the local business community to leverage available opportunities in the EPA between Jamaica and the EU.
“Ambassador, it does appear that apart from the reference to motor-vehicle importation just made, our business community is becoming more alive and more sensitive to the opportunities that exist under the EPA, and we encourage you to continue to inform yourselves. Reach out to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, to the Trade Board and let's trade more,” she encouraged.
“The continued strengthening of trust and friendship between Jamaica and the EU has been reflected not only in the quantum of the grant support which is provided, nor its method of delivery, but in the fact that it is provided in alignment with, and in pursuit of our national goals, priorities and objectives,” the Minister said.
The EU is Jamaica’s largest grant donor. Its support covers health, education, urban renewal, security, justice reform, private-sector development - including small and medium enterprises - community development, digitisation, and green technologies.
This year marks the 48th year since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Jamaica and the EU and the 73rd anniversary of Europe Day.