Jamaica creates Special Economic Zone Authority

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As part of a “global logistics hub initiative,” officials from Jamaica opened an authority to oversee special economic zones (SEZs) that it says can offer advantages over a current free zone program. The government said 104 companies operating in 126 sites around the country have been given SEZ status.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said Jamaica could potentially attract investments totaling more than U.S. $28 billion, having approximately 4,000 hectares of space as designated SEZs, while generating about 80,000 direct and 400,000 indirect jobs.

Jamaica “has, for a very long time, been dominated by sun, sea, sand, music, culture, food (and) sports,” he said. “Now we are going to start to show off our prowess in business, finance, trade and commerce (and) in logistics.”

Asif Ahmad, the British high commissioner to Jamaica, said cities and countries establishing logistics hubs and SEZs “have prospered,” citing Singapore, Shenzhen and Shanghai, China, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates as examples.

The Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority website said the zones have attractive corporate income tax rate of 12.5 percent, which can be further reduced to 7.75 percent with the application of various promotional tax credits, compared to 25 percent in the regular domestic economy.

Kingston, Jamaica has become a growing transhipment hub for container traffic. The container terminal in Kingston has been operated by Kingston Freeport Terminal, a subsidiary of CMA CGM since 2016.

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