Jamaica Market Entry
- Market entry
- Forms and conditions of operation on the market
- Marketing and Communications
- Issues of intellectual property protection
- Public procurement market
- Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
- Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
- Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
- Fairs and events
According to cheeroutdoor.com, the Jamaican market, which is quite limited in size, is dominated by agents and distributors who deliver directly to individual shops and stores. The business chain is therefore short, usually with only one intermediary between the foreign supplier and the final seller. When dealing with potential business partners, it is therefore necessary to make sure that they have established and functional relationships with them. There is a higher crime rate in Jamaica than, for example, in our country, and this is also reflected in business relations. Czech companies should emphasize their seriousness and a long period of operation, so that the local representative feels comfortable and safe when starting a business. It is common for a Jamaican to visit a supplier at his home in order to see for himself the operation of the company and its honesty. American products and goods have the best reputation on the market. This is mainly due to the cultural aspirations of many Jamaicans who admire the United States, as well as the large Jamaican community that supplies its relatives and friends with American products. At the same time, it is also due to the geographical proximity of both markets. European and mainly Japanese goods are sometimes taken as a cheaper alternative to imports from the USA. When negotiating the price, it is advisable to take the price of the same American goods as a reference point, and when arguing about the price, compare your goods with this product (same quality at a lower price, higher price at a higher quality, etc.).
According to various international comparisons, Jamaica’s import duty burden is among the highest when compared to other countries in the world (similar to, for example, Nigeria or India). The Jamaica Customs Agency takes care of importing goods: http://www.jacustoms.gov.jm/. Information on imported goods is declared on form C 86 – http://bit.ly/2nqrWNg. Authorization to represent another legal entity is confirmed on form C 73: http://bit.ly/2nW5JKH. Since Jamaica presents itself as a country suitable for operations involving temporary import into the free trade zone, valuation in the zone and subsequent export, it is good to know information about the formalities associated with this. The value of temporary importation and value added in Jamaica is submitted on Form C84 or C 85 (depending on the chosen method of calculating these values): http://bit.ly/2nW5JKH and http://bit.ly/2olNAa8.
Forms and conditions of operation on the market
An entrepreneur must decide whether to start a “business” or a “company”. The first form is most often chosen when an individual or a group of individuals runs an independent business, the second is most similar to a Czech s.r.o. or a.s. with non-publicly traded shares. A business is established under the Business Names Act, a company is established under the Companies Act.
Companies setting up business in Jamaica must register with the Office of Companies Registrar, who will then provide all official documents such as a Certificate of Incorporation. When establishing a “Company”, form BRF1 “Super form” is filled out, which replaces BN1 and BN2 for new applications. Proof of residence (in Jamaica) must be provided, for example by proof of ownership of the house or by submitting a rental agreement.
Setting up a ‘Business’ takes longer and requires more steps. Form 1A or 1B is completed, the last word in the company name must be ‘Ltd.’ (limited, roughly equivalent to our s.r.o.). The business address must be in Jamaica. Form 1A needs to be certified by the Stamp Duty and Transfer Tax Department. This requirement is no longer mandatory as this service is now provided by the Companies Office of Jamaica. If these conditions are met, a Certificate of Incorporation is issued within 4 working days, which is a confirmation of the legal status of the company. The whole procedure costs approx. 24 thousand. JMD in legal fees, when using a lawyer the costs of course increase.
To do business in Jamaica, it is necessary to obtain several numbers that identify the company in business and official relations: TRN, Taxpayer Registration Number (issued by the Collector of Taxes), NIS, National Insurance Scheme and GCT, General Consumption Tax. Some companies may require a TCC, Tax Compliance Certificate as proof that all payments are in order. According to various comparisons, Jamaica is among the countries where setting up a company is relatively simple and fast. The individual steps mentioned above are usually handled within a few days. The Government of Jamaica also supports the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, www.jbdc.net, which offers to assist budding entrepreneurs in the early stages of their business on the island.
Marketing and communication
The small size of the internal market and the not very large purchasing power of the population make Jamaica a not very interesting market for creating your own original advertising, for example for TV channels. In addition, they often operate on the border of legality and therefore do not offer very attractive conditions for large foreign advertisers. Therefore, a large number of foreign companies use TV advertising in Jamaica for other markets, e.g. for the USA or other Caribbean countries.
With the above in mind, the prices for advertising and promotion in Jamaica are not very high. Local advertising agencies are mostly limited to print and billboards. However, the use of direct marketing is coming to the fore, especially direct mailing and telephone marketing. Network marketing has also been successful recently. Social networks are becoming popular. Jamaicans most often visit foreign fairs and exhibitions, because they can also visit companies that are not yet on the island and compare their goods with what is offered to them.
Issues of intellectual property protection
Jamaica is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization, so it should follow all agreements and resolutions agreed upon and signed by WIPO members. In the Special 301 report of April 2020, Jamaica was removed from the Watch List (countries that have long-term difficulties and where the authorities do not adequately fight copyright infringement). This significant achievement was brought about by the introduction of the Patents and Designs Bill, introduced by the Minister for Industry, Trade, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon Audley Shaw, which led to the passage of the Patents and Designs Act in January 2020 to replace the country’s outdated patent and industrial designs regime . The new law was drafted in an effort to modernize Jamaica’s patent and industrial design regime and implement its international obligations.
Jamaica has an intellectual property rights enforcement agreement with the US.
The government agency Jamaica Intellectual Property Office ( www.jipo.gov.jm ) operates in Jamaica. It serves entrepreneurs as a place for registration and protection of their rights.
Public procurement market
Jamaica passed a new Public Procurement Act in 2015 to replace the National Contracts Commission with a new Public Procurement Commission with expanded powers. It is still not certain whether the new law has seen any practical implementation, the website information of the Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for it, does not give clear information. In most tender procedures, the applicant must submit a valid Tax Compliance Certificate in order to submit a bid.
Announced tenders are published on the website: www.procurement.gov.jm
Because Jamaica is a small country, the same construction, IT and other domestic firms participate in most public tenders. It is very difficult for a foreign supplier to win a tender without a local established and well-known representative, who represents for the purchasing organization a guarantee of quality and delivery of goods and services of the expected quality.
Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
The Jamaican legal system is based on a system adopted from Great Britain and is therefore common law. The four-level court system has the Court of Appeal as its highest authority. The Supreme Court also hears business cases, smaller cases with less financial value are heard in local courts, called the Resident Magistrate Court. Cases of great value or some significant impact on the functioning of the country can reach the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom (Judicial Committee of the Privy Council). Investment cases can be heard at the CCJ, the Caribbean Court of Justice, which is the venue for these cases originating from CARICOM countries. The CCJ is based in Trinidad and Tobago.
DRF, the Dispute Resolution Foundation, has been involved in the settlement of disputes, including commercial ones, since 1994. It is a private organization that, through mediation, tries to improve enforceability and the speed of dispute resolution. It also offers services in the field of arbitration. Although Jamaican courts are generally considered fair, they are sometimes slow, with large business cases taking more than a decade to hear. Under these conditions, an agreement to arbitrate potential disputes may be a suitable method that is worth incorporating into a business or investment contract between Czech and Jamaican partners. In accordance with the OECD Consensus, Jamaica is placed in group 6 by the state export insurance company EGAP, i.e. it considers the country to be insurable, but still very risky (just like Guyana, for example).
Crime and corruption are the biggest local market risks that foreign companies and investors have to deal with.
Visas, fees, specific conditions for traveling to the territory
Information for business trips – visas, how to get them and how much they cost, passport (how long it must be valid), maximum length of stay, whether to move shorter distances on foot/public transport/vehicle, conditions for renting a vehicle and obtaining insurance, information on Public transport, suitable hotels, cash/payment card/local card, availability of drinking water and its quality, crime and where not to go, what to watch out for, connections between the airport/station and ZÚ/city centre.
A passport with at least 6 months validity is required to enter the country. In addition, the immigration authorities can check the provision of means of stay (cash, payment cards, tourist voucher, etc.). More information at www.pica.gov.jm. The Jamaican government has granted an unlimited exemption from the visa requirement for citizens of the Czech Republic for trips of less than 30 days. The exception applies to trips for the purpose of cultural exchange, tourism or business activities. You can apply for a non-tourist visa at the following embassy:
Jamaica has one of the highest crime rates in the world, so any visitor should approach travel and movement with a degree of caution. It is safe in tourist resorts, it is recommended not to carry visible valuables when moving around the city, avoid traveling in crowded public transport buses. Evening walks on the beach are not recommended. Foreigners should be wary of street vendors of marijuana and other substances, who are sometimes aggressive when refusing to buy. Women should not move alone, cases of assault or rape are not exceptional. Among the areas where it is not recommended to walk are in Kingston: Cassava Piece, Tivoli Gardens, Trench Town, Arnett Gardens and Mountain View, in Montego Bay: Norwood, Clavers Street, Hart Street, Rose Heights, Canterbury and Flankers, as well as Negril and Ocho Rios. Roadblocks appear during the demonstrations, sometimes even on the access route to Norman Manley International Airport. Resorts are usually not at risk of this. Caution after dark and avoiding troubled neighborhoods is advised. There is relatively easy access to so-called soft drugs in the country. On the other hand, there is a strict penalty for the crime of drug smuggling (long prison terms, high fines). A careful drug control must be taken into account upon departure.
In Jamaica, you drive on the left. An international driver’s license is valid if a passport and a valid visa are presented at the same time. Drivers are required to wear seat belts and motorcycle riders helmets. Customers who use the taxi service should first of all notice the red and white number plate with the inscription “PP”, which identifies the licensed services.
More information can be obtained from the website: www.jamaicatravel.comjis.gov.jm
Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
How to get a work permit and who provides it, salaries, minimum wage (if any), social and health care and its provision.
Any foreigner wishing to work in Jamaica must hold a valid visa. Before entering the country, he should receive a work permit issued by the Jamaican Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. PICA, the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, oversees compliance with labor regulations by foreigners. Foreigners should have their work permit with them at all times and present it to the police or other authorities upon request. If a foreigner does not have a permit with him, he should appear at the office that requested the permit within three days and present a valid permit.
The healthcare system in Jamaica provides a much lower standard than European healthcare. Although there is a hospital in every part of the island, only Bustamante Hospital for Children and University Hospital West Indies, both in Kingston, can provide the full range of health care. International travel insurance is strongly recommended. Even then, however, private clinics, which tend to be more accessible and equipped than state facilities, often require cash payment in advance.
Fairs and events
12-13 On May 2022, the Caribbean Medical Devices Exhibition and Conference took place in Kingston, which is conceived as a connection of healthcare in the Caribbean. This event confirmed the importance of Jamaica as a hub for the supply of medical supplies from around the world to the region. Products of Czech manufacturers and suppliers of medical devices associated within the AVDZP were also exhibited at it.
There are virtually no regular exhibition events or fairs in Jamaica. The only event of a little more importance is the construction fair in Montego Bay. Local merchants tend to look for fairs outside the island, very often events in the United States, where they can also benefit from the presence of the Jamaican community in the US.