Exporting to Jamaica

Jamaica has a population of 2.9 million people and a labour force of 1.3 million people. With direct sea and air freight links to the UK and the wider Caribbean, it’s located within 4 hours of 500 million people. Jamaica imported £119 million of UK goods and services in 2018 (ONS, 2019)

Business environment

The government is implementing a US$160 million Public Sector Modernisation Programme to speed up trade, resulting in the turnaround time for opening a business being reduced to 3 days. Recent tax measures and the establishment of Special Economic Zones are incentives to stimulate business and economic activity. Ease of trading has improved with the Trade Information Portal and the Electronic Single Window for Trade.

Robust trade and investment infrastructure

Jamaica boasts an impressive telecommunications system, road network, and air and sea connectivity. Jamaica is also home to the Kingston Harbour, the 7th largest natural harbour in the world. Goods and services can thus easily be transported throughout the island to consumers at minimal cost.

Facilitating government policy

Jamaica has a robust and stable democratic system. The Jamaican government encourages the participation of international business, paving the way for UK exporters. The Jamaican economy has also been bolstered since the government has exceeded all the structural benchmarks prescribed by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) 3 year programme.

A beach in Jamaica

Ease of doing business

71st

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

Jamaican dollar

Business languages

English

GDP per capita

$5,826

UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

0.9%

(IMF, 2019)

Time zone

GMT - 5

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Opportunities for exporters

Jamaica offers opportunities for UK firms in various sectors, propelled by government and the private sector. Sectors include energy (especially renewable), education, logistics, healthcare and medical tourism, management consulting services, infrastructure, creative, agri-business and Information and communications technology (ICT).

Doing business in Jamaica

Preparing to export

The government’s commitment to stimulate economic growth is evident in their tax regime, including increase in the general tax threshold and the abolition of the minimum business tax aimed to incentivise. Jamaica also does not impose taxes on capital, and has signed a Double Taxation Treaty with the UK.

General Consumption Tax (GCT)

GCT is a Value Added Tax added to the price of most goods and services in Jamaica. GCT is 16.5% unless otherwise indicated. Any business or individual engaged in the production of goods or services is required to register under the General Commercial Tax Act.

Import duties

Jamaica has a complex system of regulation for imports. Import / customs duty, stamp duty, General Consumption Tax (GCT), Special Consumption Tax (SCT), environment levy, and other fees are applied to imports. You should seek the expert advice of a legal professional or import agency before exporting to Jamaica

Jamaica Trade Information Portal

The Jamaica Trade Information Portal (JTIP) is the one-stop point for all information relating to imports and exports from Jamaica. Traders are able to access the regulatory requirements to carry out their transactions.

Jamaica Single Window for Trade

The Jamaica Single Window for Trade is an electronic platform, which allow traders to submit transactional information through a single access point. Traders will electronically submit applications for Licences, Permits, Certificates and other regulatory requirements (LPCO), to facilitate processing by requisite Cross Border Regulatory Agencies (CBRAs) and Participating Government Agencies.

Investment Map

The Investment Map also allows investors to navigate Jamaica’s landscape accurately and discover geophysical features and places of interest, such as waterways/sources, land development suitability, services, and amenities.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Jamaica.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Jamaica

Opening a Business

The Companies Office of Jamaica (CoJ) is responsible for the registration and regulation of businesses. A first step to opening in a business is to decide on the legal structure of the firm. Once this is established, the firm is then assisted to complete the appropriate forms and is asked to submit certified copies of the appropriate documents. Much of this process can be facilitated online

Additional information and guidance specific to overseas firms seeking to open a business in Jamaica can be found on the Companies Office of Jamaica website.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.