Free Trade Agreements assist Jamaican importers and exporters by providing improved access for goods and/or services in contracting states, and by reducing trade barriers in those markets. Among other things, FTAs:
- Grant preferential tariff rates for originating goods traded among contracting parties;
- Establish the rules by which goods can qualify as originating;
- Outline Customs procedures for accessing preferential tariff rates;
- Sets out the general principles for customs procedures among the contracting parties of an Agreement
Practical Guidance to Using FTAs:
- Determine the proper tariff classification for the goods
- Consult specific FTA to ascertain if products of that tariff heading are eligible for preferential access
- Consult specific FTA to find out the rules of origin relevant to the specific goods to be traded
- Ensure that you meet the direct consignment rule
- Ensure that you have and maintain correct and complete documentation for the goods
In order to benefit under an FTA:
- The trader must present a valid, original certificate of origin for the goods seeking preferential access when submitting the relevant import declaration;
- The goods must also have been directly consigned from the relevant exporting contracting party to Jamaica.
More detailed information regarding specific FTAs that Jamaica is party to can be found here:
The CARICOM-Cuba Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (TECA) is a reciprocal Agreement which was signed on 5th July 2000 between thirteen (13) CARICOM Member States and the Republic of Cuba. The Bahamas and Haiti are not signatories to the Agreement. This Agreement was ratified by Jamaica on July 29, 2014 and fully implemented on March 16, 2015.
The TECA is a Partial Scope Agreement, mainly focused on the trade in goods, which committed the Parties to working towards the eventual conclusion of a full Free Trade Agreement in 2001. The Less Developed Countries (LDCs) of CARICOM are not required to extend preferential duty access to Cuban exports.
The TECA has an agreed timetable for negotiating a trade in services regime, and commits the Parties to the adoption of a double taxation agreement, the reciprocal promotion and protection of investment, and the development and adoption of an agreement on Intellectual Property Rights.
The CARICOM - Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement was signed on the 9th of March 2004. It covers trade in goods and provides for further negotiations in Competition Policy, Government Procurement, Double Taxation and Services. The FTA is based on reciprocity with the five (5) More Developed Countries of CARICOM and non-reciprocity for CARICOM’s Less Developed Countries (LDCs). The Agreement entered into force for Jamaica on 16th March 2015, following its ratification by the Parliament on 29th July 2014.
The CARIFORUM – European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is a region-to- region trade and development Agreement. Jamaica signed the EPA on 15 October 2008, and the Agreement was provisionally entered into force on 29 December 2008. Although Jamaica has not yet ratified the EPA, the duty-free and phased reduction of duties on the importation of goods from the EU was implemented as of September 14, 2012. The EPA provides for immediate duty-free access to the EU market for all goods, excluding arms and munitions, as well as out-of-quota sugar exports; with full liberalization expected in 2017.
Effective January 1, 2017, Jamaica implemented the third tranche of the phased reduction of duties on the importation of goods from the EU; with the elimination of ‘Other Duties and Charges’ (ODCs) expected by December 2018.
The Agreement on Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Government of the Republic of Venezuela is a Partial Scope Agreement, primarily focused on trade in goods, but it also provides a framework for parties to work together for the promotion of services and investment, and double taxation agreements. It was signed in October 1992, and entered into force on 1st January 2000 The Agreement, however, has been fairly dormant as there have been varied technical problems affecting its implementation.
A range of goods are allowed to enter Venezuela duty free. This preferential access, however, is not extended to certain products which are mainly beef, milk, coffee, rice, flour, cooking oils and related products, cocoa beans, cement and related products, orange juice, mineral fuels, mineral oils and related products, medicaments, paints and varnishes, insecticides, disinfectants, plastics, glass products, iron products, and television sets.
The Agreement on Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Government of the Republic of Colombia is a Partial Scope Agreement, which is focused on trade in goods, while providing a framework for future collaboration among contracting parties in the areas of services and investment. This Agreement was signed on 24 July 1994 and entered into force on 1 June 1995. This Agreement has also not been very active.
The CARICOM – Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement was signed on the 22nd of August 1998 and was provisionally entered into force in December 2001, following the signing of the Protocol implementing the Agreement on 28th April 2000. While the Agreement is focused on the trade in goods, it also provides an agreed time-table for negotiating a trade in services regime and commits the Parties to doing the same for reciprocal promotion and protection of investment and for government procurement. The FTA is based on reciprocity with the five (5) More Developed Countries (MDCs) of CARICOM and non-reciprocity for CARICOM’s Less Developed Countries (LDCs). The Agreement was implemented on 16th March 2015, following its ratification by Parliament on 29th July 2014, which completed the legislative process necessary to give formal effect to the FTA..
CARICOM, established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas in 1973 is a regional agreement that is geared towards achieving deeper integration within the Caribbean Community. It rests on four (4) main pillars: economic integration, foreign policy coordination; human and social development and security. The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) was borne out of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (2001) and is at the heart of CARICOM’s economic integration.
The ultimate goal of the CSME is to provide the foundation for growth and development through the creation of a single economic space for the production of competitive goods and services. This is supported by its five regimes: free movement of goods, people, services and capital and the right of establishment of business. The free movement of goods is supported by the Common External Tariff (CET), which applies to goods originating outside of CARICOM and is operated by all members of the CSME. Under this regime, member states of the CSME are not required to pay import duties or ODCs (additional stamp duty in the case of Jamaica) on goods of Common Market origin.