United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia, is encouraging the country to take better advantage of the duty-free arrangement to export goods to the US under the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI).
Addressing the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MBCCI) Awards Banquet, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in St. James, on Saturday (November 30), Mr. Tapia indicated that local companies can get “5 to 20 per cent tax refund” on export goods if they fill out the required CBI documentation.
“You don’t get the full 5 to 20 per cent tax refund for your export because of one reason, you don’t fill out a one-page document,” he said.
“That one-page document put you in a different relationship with profitability to your company. The 5 to 20 per cent that you can recoup by filling out one single piece of paper, and if in fact you need help, we are more than happy at the United States Embassy to help you and show you what you need to do to make sure that you get this tax break,” the Ambassador added.
Mr. Tapia said that currently, Jamaican companies primarily use CBI for agricultural export, but noted that there are over 5,000 products covered under the programme. He is urging local companies to tap into these markets and grow the Jamaican economy.
“There is a great opportunity for Jamaicans to sit back and get that dream, and get that mind thinking about how we can make a difference. How can we change the balance of power, the balance of trade because this is what we need to do to build Jamaica,” he said.
“I encourage Jamaicans to look at ways to diversify its export products, so that the country can take advantage of the CBI. That is important because that is tax-free [products} going to the US,” he added.
The CBI provides several tariff and trade benefits to many Central American and Caribbean countries.
The event featured several awards presented to the business community in Montego Bay and wider St. James.
The highlight of the night was popular St. James businessman, Mark Kerr-Jarrett, who was inducted into the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Leaders Wall of Fame.
Previous inductees to the Wall of Fame included hotel mogul, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, publisher Lloyd B. Smith, and businessman Winston Dear.