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The scrap metal trade is set to resume in January 2013, with a revised regime and new set of regulations governing stakeholders’ operations.

Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, announced  on December 19, that the activities are set to re-commence by the third week of January next year, after being suspended earlier this year.

Speaking at the  weekly Jamaica House Media Briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Mr. Hylton advised that following months of due diligence, reviews and meetings at the government and stakeholder levels, Cabinet recently approved a “far more rigorous and improved” regulatory regime to govern trade in both industrial and non-industrial scrap.

Mr. Hylton said features of the new regime governing the trade include: mandatory special permits/licences for entities deemed reputable; mandatory 100 per cent Customs inspection of materials being traded before these are loaded; and posting of a $7 million bond by each entity, which will also be charged a regulatory fee.

Industrial scrap refers to material generated by companies from their manufacturing operations or from the retirement of obsolete metallic fixed assets, which are exported by the owner in his or her name.

In the case of non-industrial scrap metal, new conditions include: more stringent eligibility criteria for exporters; mandatory application for licences; and a Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC), among other permits specified by the Ministry in conjunction with the Trade Board, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), and Customs Department.  Non-industrial scrap is defined as material that is purchased.

Mr. Hylton emphasized that non-nationals desirous of becoming exporters must apply for a work permit, while pointing out that all arrangements for exports must take place at one of three designated central multi-user sites in Kingston and Clarendon.     

Other notable features of the new regime include: mandatory displaying of all material being traded at the designated sites for five days for public viewing before being loaded; and permanent posting of Customs, police, and military officers at these locations.

The Minister said sanctions that will be imposed where breaches have occurred include: a $3 million fine, two years imprisonment and loss of licence/permit; allocation of a portion of the $7 million bond to compensate victims; and detention of material deemed suspicious for 10 days to facilitate investigations by Customs officers and the police, and public viewing.

Additionally, he said penalties will be imposed on persons who engage in illicit activities, such as the theft of material barred from the list of tradeable items. These include: copper, irrigation pipes, manhole covers, railway lines, and sign posts.

Mr. Hylton also advised that a website will be established to facilitate the viewing and lodging of complaints by the public.

“Between now (December) and  (January 2013), we will be working hard to register exporters, issue new licences, finalize and sign agreements with site owners, sign operating permits with exporters, recruit and train new staff in (the) Factories Corporation of Jamaica, equip site offices, and promulgate new regulations,” Mr. Hylton informed.