Petition started to get Gov’t raise no-custom duty limit

September 21, 2020
Packages with value of US$50 or more attract customs charges.
Packages with value of US$50 or more attract customs charges.
Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke.
Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke.

Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke says he has taken note of a petition that is calling for the Government to review its policy of applying custom charges to goods that cost more than US$50.

Packages with value of US$50 or less do attract customs charges. However, if the value is greater, customs charges will be calculated on the full value. Petitioners are seeking to have the no-custom duty limit increased to US$100.

The petition, which is on the Jamaica House Petition Portal, was started on September 16 and has attracted more than the 15,000 signatures that are required for it to trigger a response from the Office of the Prime Minister.

"It is not a new suggestion and, in fact, this has been under consideration. However, we have to examine this option from various perspectives. I understand the perspective of the petitioners. We have to also consider the impact on revenues, the impact on the domestic brick-and-mortar retail trade, and how such a move is likely to impact domestic choices and the likely net effect of these choices on the economy," Dr Clarke told THE STAR.

Finance Minister Clarke argued that any adjustment to the rate must be carefully studied, as an increase in the threshold could have negative impacts. He pointed to data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica which show that the segment of the economy that includes the wholesale and retail trade, formal and informal, is the largest employer in Jamaica, accounting for 266,000 jobs.

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