Jamaica has opened up its special economic zones, or SEZs, to car importers, but is offering assurances that it comes with safeguards to prevent leakage of uncustomed vehicles into the local market.
The May 9 decision by Minister of Industry Karl Samuda will allow dealers to import vehicles into a SEZ duty-free and without a licence from the Trade Board.
SEZ-stored vehicles are mainly meant for trans-shipment, but the policy does not bar SEZ-designated cars from being sold in Jamaica. To emerge from the SEZ and into the local market, the vehicles would then have be to assessed for tariffs by the Jamaica Customs Agency and obtain the requisite import permit from the Trade Board.
Kent LaCroix, chairman of the Automobile Dealers Association (ADA), is suggesting that bonded storage areas are needed at the wharf to facilitate the migration of autos from the SEZ into the local trade.