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How to invest in Jamaica.
Jamaica is a key member of the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM), which is strategically located just 1,000 miles from the United States (U.S.), the world’s richest market place. Investing in Jamaica will therefore provide investors with access to CARICOM and the U.S. market. A range of Jamaican goods produced also still enjoys preferential access to the European Union (EU), the world’s biggest trading bloc, until the year 2007 under the COTONOU agreement of Jamaica is a part of. Jamaican and international investors who operate in Jamaica will therefore be able to get a foothold in the world’s two largest markets, when the Free Trade Areas of the Americas (FTAA) were implemented in 2005 of which Jamaica is also a part of.
Investors who invest in Jamaica will have access to a highly skilled and trainable Jamaican work force of approximately 1.2 million people on a sustained basis. Jamaica’s objective for the first decade of the 21st century, is to develop a Jamaican education system, which produces a confident, competent and enterprising Jamaican labor force, capable of functioning efficiently in the global economy. This will be done by ensuring that the best Jamaican teachers enter and remain in the classrooms in order to reduce the Jamaican teacher/ Jamaican pupil ratio to 1:35, while increasing the Jamaican tertiary enrollment rate to 15 per cent.
Investors who locate their operations in Jamaica will benefit from a range of investment friendly incentives. The Jamaican government is currently seeking to encourage exports through the provision of a raft of new incentives under the Jamaican Export Industries Encouragement Act, which will be harmonized with the provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements. A clear set of Jamaican development criteria will however, be applied before these incentives are granted. These include location, Jamaican employment levels, the size of the Jamaican investment to be made and the amount of money to be invested in research & development. The Jamaican government has also established a business facilitation unit, which will be primarily responsible for reducing the bureaucratic delays to project approvals by at least 50 percent.
Jamaica has a fully digital and liberalized telecommunications system, which is currently experiencing phenomenal expansion. New investors such as the Irish based, Digicel Jamaica and Centennial Jamaica, have invested approximately $500 million in network infrastructure, while Cable & Wireless Jamaica has also been spending heavily to correct loss of revenue after full liberalization of the market in March 2003. Jamaican governments policy is to continue to encourage competition in the telecommunication sector by opening the Jamaican market.
The 'Investor’s Guide to doing Business in Jamaica', a JAMPRO publication, designed to help the prospective investor to settle down in Jamaica, as quickly as possible. In order to achieve this objective, the publication is divided into seven sections of Jamaican bureaucracy for easy reference and your convenience. Section one provides general information about Jamaica; recent Jamaican economic developments and the reasons why Jamaica is such an attractive investment location. Meanwhile, sections two and three outline the legal requirements of doing business and acquiring commercial property in Jamaica; the various incentives available and the kinds of assistance provided by JAMPRO.
Sections four, five and six give the investor specific information about Jamaica’s infrastructure such as, Jamaican transportation, Jamaican water and electricity; Jamaican labor legislation, and labor market, as well as Jamaican industrial relations practices. They also provide details about the country’s taxation policies; general duties and international tax treaties to which it is a signatory. Finally, section seven and the appendix cover all the information related to living in Jamaica, while highlighting the performance of selected Jamaican macro economic indicators during the period 1997-2006. Investors will find this publication very informative and refreshing.
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