flag Jamaica Jamaica: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Jamaica is open to foreign trade, which represents 90% of its GDP (World Bank, 2019). The country is a member of Caricom and WTO. Current negotiations and commercial issues affecting Jamaica include greater Caribbean integration, post-Cotonou negotiations and Jamaican relations with the U.S. The average applied tariff is around 10.8%. Jamaica mainly exports corundum and aluminium (36.1% - as Jamaica accounts for 10% of the world’s production of bauxite and 8% of the world’s production of aluminium), petroleum oils (19.4%) and aluminium ores (7.3%); whereas imports are led by petroleum oils (15.6%), cars (5.6%) and medicaments (3.4% - Comtrade).

The country’s main export partners are the United States (46.6%), Canada (9.7%), the Netherlands (8.1%), Iceland (6.9%) and Russia (5.5%); while its main imports partners are the United States (39.7%), China (8.3%), Brazil (6.5%), Japan (4.4%), and Colombia (2.9% - Comtrade). Jamaica was one of nine Caribbean countries that signed an agreement with the U.K. to maintain commercial relations after Brexit. The country has liberalized its trade to boost its economy. Jamaica and other countries participating in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) have harmonized their import tariffs applied to third countries. Nevertheless, import duties on some agricultural products and certain consumer goods remain high in order to protect local producers. Some tax exemptions have also been eliminated and the country benefits from certain assets, such as its marine harbours, seaports and high-quality transportation infrastructure, as well as uncomplicated custom regulations.

The foreign trade balance is structurally negative; however, the current account deficit had been gradually improving in recent years, especially due to the contraction of imports. According to WTO, in 2020 the country’s foreign trade was severely affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic: exports of goods were valued at USD 1.2 billion (-25.2% year-on-year) while imports stood at USD 4.7 billion (-25.6% y-o-y). With regard to services, exports amounted to USD 2.1 billion (-50.9% y-o-y), while imports totalled USD 1.6 billion (-34.6% y-o-y), making Jamaica a net service exporter. Data from the World Bank show that in 2020 the country’s trade balance was negative by 14.1% of GDP. According to preliminary figures from the National Institute of Statistics, Jamaica’s total spending on imports and earnings from exports for the period January to November 2021 increased by 25.2% and 20.2%, respectively: the former stood at almost USD 5.4 billion, the latter reached USD 1.3 billion. In the same period, the main export partners were the U.S., the Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation; whereas imports came chiefly from the U.S., Brazil, China, Japan and Turkey.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 5,8186,1266,3394,7125,976
Exports of Goods (million USD) 1,3101,8781,5861,2191,441
Imports of Services (million USD) 2,3012,3532,5681,6782,561
Exports of Services (million USD) 3,4923,7984,3052,1143,001
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 664-2712
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 584-3026
Trade Balance (million USD) -3,553-3,515-4,031-2,949-2,826
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 8490906673
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 4951524246
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3539382428

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2021
United States 50.7%
Netherlands 10.2%
Canada 6.8%
United Kingdom 4.4%
Russia 3.1%
See More Countries 24.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
United States 40.8%
Brazil 8.6%
China 7.8%
Japan 3.5%
Türkiye 3.2%
See More Countries 36.2%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

1.4 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 29.1%
Artificial corundum, whether or not chemically...Artificial corundum, whether or not chemically defined; aluminium oxide; aluminium hydroxide 27.7%
Aluminium ores and concentratesAluminium ores and concentrates 5.0%
Undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength...Undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength of < 80%; spirits, liqueurs and other spirituous beverages (excl. compound alcoholic preparations of a kind used for the manufacture of beverages) 4.5%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 3.3%
See More Products 30.5%
6.0 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 11.2%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 9.7%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 4.8%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.6%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.5%
See More Products 67.2%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

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Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Member of Free Trade area of America

Assessment of Commercial Policy
Country’s commercial policy
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
9.55%
 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Member of Free Trade area of America

Useful Resources
Jamaica Customs
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO).
 
 
 

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Latest Update: February 2023