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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, has announced a ban on the importation of used motor vehicle tyres, effective July 1.
Speaking at a press briefing at his office on St. Lucia Avenue, in New Kingston, today (June 15), Mr. Samuda said the ban would not be permanent or indefinite, but would remain in place until the Bureau of Standards has developed a regime to properly regulate the sector.
“No one will be permitted to have used tyres for vehicles and light carrier units cleared from the wharf, if it arrives later than July 1,” the Minister said. “Anything that is in the process of being shipped must be cleared or available for clearance by July 1,” he explained.
He said the development of an import regime for the sector was necessary to ensure that the country complies with international standards, as well as to guarantee the integrity of the tyres that were being imported into the country.
“We have had complaints by many authorities and the consuming public, to some extent, that these tyres that are not commercial tyres, but which are for cars and light vehicles, pose a threat if the integrity of the tyre is not adequate to meet the rigours of our roads and put our people’s lives at risk,” the Minister said.
Mr. Samuda pointed out that under the new regime, importers would be required to obtain a special licence to bring the products into the country.
“The Bureau has been in consultation with various stakeholders, in creating this standard and they have been working on it now for a couple of months. I have been advised that they are some 90 per cent finished. I’m hoping that within a short time, we will have this standard that will guide us in terms of those tyres that can be brought into the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Samuda said he has requested the Bureau to conduct inspections of the tyres to ensure that defective used tyres are not introduced into the market, which would put the lives of Jamaicans at risk.
Executive Director of the Bureau of Standards, Noel Osbourne, said his organisation has so far inspected over 18,000 used tyres which were on the wharves for clearance. However, he could not give a precise figure for the tyres which have not yet been inspected.
Mr. Osbourne said the used tyre industry was a growing sector with some 20 importers now on record. In December there were some 6,000 tyres on the wharves to be inspected, but this number has grown to almost 19,000, he informed.