SEZ Regime to Facilitate Investments

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, says that through the new Special Economic Zones (SEZs) regime, the Government is seeking to build a robust and modern framework that will not only benefit international investors but the Jamaican economy as a whole.
  • He was speaking in the Senate on Friday (December 11), where the SEZ Bill was passed with 15 amendments.
  • SEZs represent a wide variety of geographically-demarcated areas that offer simple and efficient business regulations and procedures to investors.

Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, says that through the new Special Economic Zones (SEZs) regime, the Government is seeking to build a robust and modern framework that will not only benefit international investors but the Jamaican economy as a whole.

He was speaking in the Senate on Friday (December 11), where the SEZ Bill was passed with 15 amendments.

Senator Golding, who piloted the Bill, said it represents “an exciting opportunity for greater investment, employment and growth in Jamaica.”

“This legislation provides critical support to the Government’s thrust to leverage Jamaica’s areas of competitive advantage by focusing on the development of a logistics-based economy,” he said.

He said it is envisioned that SEZs will attract new economic activities, supported by the provision of new infrastructure. It will also allow domestic suppliers to sell to companies located in the special economic zones and become part of the global supply chain.

SEZs represent a wide variety of geographically-demarcated areas that offer simple and efficient business regulations and procedures to investors.

It is used to attract foreign direct investment, stimulate local investment, increase trade and create jobs.

The legislation seeks to implement a comprehensive regulatory framework for the operation of SEZs and provide for consequential amendments to be made to those statutes, which are affected by the implementation of the Bill.

The Bill makes provisions for the designation, promotion, development, operation, and management of SEZs; and the granting of fiscal benefits and other supporting measures in order to attract domestic and foreign investment into the special economic zones.

Senator Golding also noted that the new SEZ legislation will ensure that Jamaica is in conformity with the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures by the December 2015 agreed deadline.

The SEZ Bill, which repeals the Jamaica Export Free Zones Act, also makes provisions for the establishment of an SEZ authority and a fund to support the development anticipated from the activities of these zones.

The new Bill was arrived at following extensive consultation and input from Ministries, Departments and Agencies across government, the private sector, academia, key stakeholders and the general public, along with local and international technical assistance.

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