House Approves Tariff Resolution

Story Highlights

  • The House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 1) approved the Customs Tariff (Revision) (Amendment) Resolution 2018.
  • The Resolution repeals and replaces the first and fourth schedules to the Customs Tariff (Resolution), 1972 to accord with the World Customs Organization’s Harmonised System of classification of goods, which will assist customs administrators to monitor and control the importation and trade in goods, in Jamaica.
  • The legislation was moved by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon Nigel Clarke.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 1) approved the Customs Tariff (Revision) (Amendment) Resolution 2018.

The Resolution repeals and replaces the first and fourth schedules to the Customs Tariff (Resolution), 1972 to accord with the World Customs Organization’s Harmonised System of classification of goods, which will assist customs administrators to monitor and control the importation and trade in goods, in Jamaica.

The legislation was moved by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon Nigel Clarke.

In his remarks, Dr. Clarke noted that the approved resolution will give effect to the implementation of the revised common external tariff, based on the 2017 Harmonised System of classifications.

“The Harmonised System is a World Custom Organization’s international multipurpose product nomenclature used as the basis for the customs tariff and the collection of international trade statistics,” he stated.

Dr. Clarke noted that the World Customs Organization is responsible for the Harmonised System, and revises the system at regular intervals to ensure that it reflects changes in technology or in patterns of international trade.

He explained that Jamaica, being a member of CARICOM, is required to adopt amendments to the Common External Tariff (CET), based on the new 2017 harmonisation.

“The CARICOM Secretariat requested member states to implement the revised CET based on the new 2017 Harmonised System effective January 1, 2018. However, Jamaica only received the final draft of the document from CARICOM on March 16, 2018, and a commitment was made to implement the Harmonised System by May,” the Finance Minister said.

“The delay in implementing the Harmonised System is because of further consolations that had to be undertaken between Jamaica and the CARICOM Secretariat as well as other internal stakeholders. The Resolution that has been brought before the House provides for the replacement of the current CET based on the 2012 Harmonised System, with the revised CET based on the 2017 Harmonised System,” he added.

Dr Clarke explained that the latest version of the Harmonised System contains approximately 233 amendments in response to changes in the following sectors: agriculture, chemical, wood, textile, base metal, machinery and transport.

These amendments, he said, were largely driven by changes to trade patterns and practices, technological progress, the necessity to clarify text to ensure uniform interpretation and the need to make provisions for specific social and environmental developments.

“This House is invited to note that the amendments are not to impose higher tariffs but rather to facilitate the deletion of a number of headings, the merger of some as well as the creation/restructuring of new subheadings,” Dr. Clarke said.

He added that Jamaica remains committed to honouring obligations under CARICOM, to which the country is a signatory.

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