Kingston, Jamaica – The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) is pleased to announce that the CARICOM Secretariat has authorised the suspension of the Common External Tariff (CET) in respect of the importation of lithium-ion batteries into Jamaica. This decision follows the intervention made by Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce at the 57th Meeting of the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on November 27, 2023, and subsequent bi-lateral consultations between Jamaica and Barbados, and marks a pivotal development in fostering a conducive environment for investments in Jamaica’s renewable energy sector.
The suspension of the CET is effective from February 2, 2024, to February 1, 2025, for a quantity of 240,000 Lithium-Ion Batteries. Jamaica will continue to monitor the industry and utilize the mechanisms available under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to verify and determine regional capacity to supply the product, in the coming months. This will be an important factor in examining the scope for is critical for a renewal of the CET suspension.
The collaborative efforts of representatives from the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC), Ministry of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport (MSETT), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT), and Ministry of Finance and the Public Service (MOFPS) were integral to the successful negotiations. The CARICOM Secretariat also played a vital role as Facilitator. In addition, guidance was sought from the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) and the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA).
These collective actions align with the provisions outlined in the Amended Article 83 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, regarding the operation of the Common External Tariff. This article stipulates that any alteration or suspension of the Common External Tariff on any item shall be decided by COTED in situations where the product is not being produced in the Community, the quantity of the product produced in the Community does not meet demand, or the quality falls below the Community standard.
The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, acting as the authorized body responsible for engaging with COTED on Jamaica’s behalf, played a pivotal role in securing this favourable outcome. Every effort was made by the MIIC and other GOJ representatives to expedite the assessment of Barbados’s capacity to supply the product and to engage the CARICOM Secretariat for a speedy resolution.
In expressing his satisfaction with the decision, Minister Aubyn Hill stated, “This approval is not just a win for the renewable energy sector but a testament to our commitment to creating a sustainable and innovative future. The discussions with CARICOM and the
successful negotiation of the CET suspension, underscores our dedication to fostering a clean energy landscape in Jamaica. We are pleased that this decision will not only boost the renewable energy sector but will contribute significantly to Jamaica’s overall commitment to a greener and more sustainable future.”
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