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  • Effective May 1, phablets, which are a cross between a Smartphone and a tablet, will be reclassified and no longer attract customs duties.
  • Because the characteristics of phablets were not distinguishable as to whether they are phones or tablets, the decision had been taken to classify them as phones under tariff heading 8517.
  • The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has been advised to classify phablets under tariff heading 847130.

Effective May 1, phablets, which are a cross between a Smartphone and a tablet, will be reclassified and no longer attract customs duties.

This was announced by Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips while opening the 2014/15 Budget Debate in Parliament on April 17.

The Minister explained that because the characteristics of phablets were not distinguishable as to whether they are phones or tablets, the decision had been taken to classify them as phones under tariff heading 8517.

This meant that the phone feature of phablets attracted a customs duty of 20 percent, while its other feature, the tablet, was classified similar to laptops under the tariff heading 8471 and therefore did not attract any customs duties.

“With the rapid changes in technology, it was felt that this classification was prejudicial as many of the tablets had similar characteristics to phablets. It was therefore felt in the interest of equity…that the classification for phablets should be the same as that for tablets,” the Minister said.

Dr. Phillips said the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has been advised to classify phablets under tariff heading 847130 with description “portable automatic data processing machines, weighing not more than 10 kilograms, consisting of at least a central processing unit, a keyboard and a display,”  until the World Customs Organization (WCO) provides a unique classification.

The Minister said it is expected that this change will provide greater access and widen the use of technology products for learning and productivity.