THE Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) is reporting heightening investor/stakeholder interest in operating within the country’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which are key components of the Government’s Logistics Hub Initiative (LHI).
Dr Eric Deans, chief executive officer of the JSEZA, which is spearheading the initiative’s development, told JIS News that the authority has 31 SEZ applications for established activities such as business process outsourcing, manufacturing, and logistics — pointing out that a significant number of the applicants are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
“We are also seeing interest from a wide cross section of industries in new and emerging industries, particularly in the logistics and maritime sectors, which are deemed attractive to operate in Jamaica,” Dr Dean noted.
He pointed out that a JSEZA market analysis identified pharmaceuticals, higher-end agro-processing, electronics, medical device, auto parts, and motor vehicle assembly among the diverse set of additional activities for consideration.
Noting that there is local and foreign interest in pursuing activities in these new industries, he attributes this to new incentives being offered under the SEZ Act that “investors are taking advantage of”, coupled with Jamaica’s strategic location in the Caribbean.
The JSEZA’s director of investor relations and communications, Kelli-Dawn Hamilton said the SEZ incentive regime includes an attractive corporate income tax rate of 12.5 per cent, which she said can be further reduced to 7.75 per cent with the application of various promotional tax credits, compared to 25 per cent in the regular domestic economy.
Additionally, she said SEZ companies are able to import items at the duty-free rate.