Trade agreements underutilised



Despite the many complaints from businesses about having little to no access to export markets, data from the Trade Board Limited (TBL) shows that while a number of trade agreements exist, most are underutilised.

Director of export at the TBL Joan Butler told the Jamaica Observer that of the 11 trade agreements to which Jamaica is a party, the nine managed by her entity is found to be marginally used. The other two — the CARIFORUM-European Union (EU) and CARIFORUM-United Kingdom (UK) economic partnership agreements (EPA) — that falls under the control of the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) also reflect minimal usage.

Outlining details about the nine trade agreements it manages, the TBL said these comprise six across the region including the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, Venezuela Trade & Investment Agreement, Colombia Trade Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement, Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement, Cuba Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement; as well as the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN), and the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

Based on the usage of each to date, data spanning an eight-year period and reflected on a per shipment basis shows the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas/Caricom agreement being the most utilised. Despite fluctuating usage across the review period, the number of certificate of origins (COOs) issued under the Caricom agreement in 2015/16 was 3,436 and 3,008 in 2022/23. The data also indicated the most to have been issued were 4,438 in 2016/17.


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