- Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, made the announcement as he addressed the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) Industry Forum.
- Mr. Hylton said the mission of the Government is to set the right foundation for the successful development and long-term sustainability of the SEZs.
- Mr. Hylton emphasized that the central component of the Jamaica Logistics Hub Initiative to achieve growth, is the development of these SEZs.
Legislation will be taken to Parliament soon to upgrade the current Free Zone regime to a modern Special Economic Zone (SEZ) policy, that will play a more significant role in Jamaica’s logistics-centred economy.
This was announced by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, as he addressed the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) Industry Forum, held at the Grandiosa Hotel in Montego Bay, on July 11.
“We aim to have the draft document (Green Paper) tabled in Parliament by September. I think the timeline from there to passage should be very short. I expect that by the end of September to early October we would have settled the policy in Parliament and we start drafting for the special Act on this important development,” the Minister said.
“The reason we need this Act is that we want investors to have the confidence, the clarity and the certainty of this new regime. I expect that by year end, we should be well on the way, with 2015 being the timeline for the phasing out of the free zones and the establishment of the new SEZs,” he added.
Mr. Hylton said the mission of the Government is to set the right foundation for the successful development and long-term sustainability of the SEZs, through strategies that will help to shift Jamaica’s economic paradigm to one that creates higher value added goods and services and lead to higher growth and job creation, in accordance with international best practices.
“The upgrading of the free zone regime to a modern SEZ regime represents a significant step towards transforming the operations of these zones. Moreover, the upgrading of the free zones to SEZs is a move towards conformance under the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules for middle-income countries, such as Jamaica. The new SEZ regime for Jamaica will adopt international standards and growing trends for zone development,” the Minister explained.
Mr. Hylton emphasized that the central component of the Jamaica Logistics Hub Initiative to achieve growth, is the development of these SEZs.
“Several integrated, mixed use or specialized, large-scale SEZs will be established and will be designed to promote value added industries capable of generating employment, export growth, food and energy security. The businesses in these geographical areas (SEZs) will experience enhanced and seamless procedures and regulations to ensure economic and social linkages within the wider economy,” the Minister said.
He pointed out that the SEZs are highly effective for job generation, particularly for women entering the workforce, in addition to being major foreign exchange earners.