Register your business

In Jamaica, the Companies Office of Jamaica registers local and overseas companies, individuals and firms that wish to carry on business. The following steps are required to register a business:

  • Determine the legal structure and name
  • Choose and reserve a name
  • Register either as a foreign company, a local company or a business name
A company is a commercial enterprise registered or incorporated under the Companies Act. A business name is a sole trader, partnership or trade name registered under the Registration of Business Names Act.

Choose and reserve a name

A name search indicates the correctness and availability of the name you have selected for your company. You will need to:

  • Visit the COJ’s offices or go on-line and complete the necessary form. 
  • Pay the requisite fee: JMD$500 for the name search and JMD$3000 for the name reservation.

The service takes one working days if submitted in office or 2-3 working days if submitted electronically via email. Upon completion, the Registrar of Companies will indicate the result of the search and inform you of the suitability of the name. If requested at the time of your submission, the selected name will also be reserved for a period of 90 days.

Register a company or business name

To register a company or business name in Jamaica, applicants must either visit or go online and apply to the COJ.
Register an overseas company:

Overseas companies incorporated outside of Jamaica, may operate or establish a place of business within the island, but must be registered at COJ and are required to apply for registration within one month of being established.

To register an overseas company the following must be completed and submitted:

  • ”Particulars of Overseas Company (Form 31)” which captures the particulars of the overseas company and its directors, and one or more persons resident on the island authorised to accept on behalf of the company service of process and any notices required to be served on the company.
  • Certified copy of the company statutes.
Register a local company:

To register a local company the following must be completed and submitted:

  • The Articles of Incorporation (Form 1A): This form requires the registered address of the company, which must be situated in Jamaica. 
  • The “Business Registration Form” (BRF1) a.k.a. “Super Form”: This form captures the required information on the directors, secretary, registered office and the relevant information for the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Tax Office (TRN, TCC and GCT), HEART/Trust and National Housing Trust (NHT).
  • Originals or certified copies of any relevant professional certificates when the nature of the business makes reference to professions or occupations (e.g. medical practitioner).
  • Your individual Tax Registration Number (TRN): To learn how to acquire your TRN, see the "Taxpayer and social security registration" section below on this page.
Register a business name:

To register a business name, the following must be completed and submitted:

  • The Business Registration Form (BRF 1) "Super Form".
  • A document verifying the proprietor's current address.
  • A TRN for the proprietors.
  • An original valid government issued identification of the principal proprietor.
  • Professional certification where applicable
  • Work permit or exemption letter, where applicable. To learn how to get your work permit, see the "Labour" tab in this guide.
If the registrant is unable to produce any of the above documents to verify his/her address, then the registrant may submit a statutory declaration.

To register online and for the full schedule of fees and a list of the required forms, visit the COJ's website.

Submitting your application:

Quick tips

  • All form(s) must be signed by the Director(s) and/or the person declaring the accuracy of the information submitted on the form.
  • For submission, an original valid government issued identification (ID) of the principal director and/or the person declaring the accuracy of the form(s) must be presented to the Companies Office.
  • While the stamping of "Articles" may be done at the Stamp Duty and Transfer Tax Department of the Tax Administration of Jamaica, this is no longer a mandatory requirement as this service is now provided in house at the COJ.

Annual returns and renewals

Once registered, companies are required to file annual returns with the COJ.  Business Name certificates are valid for a period of three years and must thereafter be renewed. Late renewals will carry a penalty.

Removal of a company

A company that is no longer operating may be removed from the Register of Companies. 

  • A business (partnership/sole trader/trade name) may be closed by notice in writing to the Companies Office of Jamaica.
  • A company, which has no assets or liabilities can simply be removed from the register of companies in accordance with the Companies Act, if in the Registrar’s opinion and satisfaction, the company is no longer carrying on business.
  •  If  a company, which has assets and liabilities is solvent it must first be wound-up in accordance with the Companies Act, before it can be removed from the register of companies. 
An insolvent company cannot be wound up under this Act, but instead must proceed under the Insolvency Act, 2014. 

In the event that a company is removed while it is still in business or owns property, it may seek restoration to the Register within 20 years of having been removed.

Find out more...

Relevant documents
Relevant institutions Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) Office of the Supervisor of Insolvency (OSI)

Investment incentives

Companies operating in Jamaica can benefit from a range of fiscal incentives, a number of which were introduced and revised in 2013 under the Omnibus Incentive Regime. They can gain relief on:

  • customs import duties, normally charged when importing goods into the country.
  • additional stamp duties, usually applied at the port on certain products.
  • corporate income tax generally levied on the profit income of businesses. 

It should be noted that regulated companies are excluded from accessing the benefits under the Omnibus Incentives Regime. Regulated companies are those regulated by the Bank of Jamaica, the Financial Services Commission, the Office of the Utilities Regulation and the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.

In addition to the Omnibus Incentive Regime, there are several other incentives, which are available to businesses and investors, and listed further below.  In order to access your incentives, investors should contact the relevant ministries or agencies below to determine the process and requirements.

The Omnibus Regime

Under the Omnibus Regime, several legislative components are included and the following benefits may be accessed: 

The Fiscal Incentives Act:

This allows companies to access a number of benefits that can reduce their corporate income tax liability. Key among these benefits are the following:

  • An Employment Tax Credit (ETC) at a maximum value of 30 percent - which can effectively reduce the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate from 25 percent to as low as 17.5 percent and can be applied at the time at which companies file their taxes. 
    • Companies can claim the full tax credit when they pay their statutory taxes in full and on time. 
    • These statutory taxes are the Education Tax, NHT/NIS and HEART contributions. 

  • Capital Allowance at an initial 20 percent - which when applied, reduces the proportion of the company’s income against the income tax will be charged and can be applied at the point at which the companies submit their annual returns.
    • The allowance is applicable to capital expenditure related to construction, alteration and renovation of industrial buildings is allowed.
    • A significant number of properties referred to as “industrial buildings”, including:
      • buildings or structures used directly in the production of primary products.
      • hotels licensed by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB)
      • hospitals and certain other health-care facilities
      • multi-storey car parks
      • buildings or structures constructed under public-private partnership arrangements

The Customs Tariff (Revision) (Amendment) Resolution, 2013:

A key benefit introduced is the Productive Inputs Relief (PIR) scheme. Through the PIR system, the government has targeted specific sectors in which to promote and stimulate growth in the economy:

  • manufacturing
  • agriculture
  • tourism
  • healthcare
  • creative industries

The PIR provides for the duty-free importation of specific items where they are for productive use. This relief is intended to result in the expansion of productive activities in these sectors as it allows companies to import certain items without having to pay the duty and additional stamp duty (where applicable):

  • Raw materials, intermediate goods, consumables or packaging materials and equipment (including parts) for the manufacturers
  • Machinery and capital equipment
  • A set list of goods for hotels & resort cottages and attractions
  • A set list of goods for the healthcare sector
  • Tools of Trade for the Creative Industries, including the Film and Music industries

Companies must be registered with the relevant ministry to access PIR benefits. Companies should note that the PIR only covers the import duties and the additional stamp duty.  Both the manufacturing and agricultural companies are also eligible to receive relief from the Value Added Tax/General Consumption Tax (GCT), while the registered manufacturers also benefit from a 50 percent discount on the Customs Administration Fee (CAF) and a deferment on the GCT.

The Revised Stamp Duty Act:

This is targeted at the manufacturing and agricultural (primary production) sectors and provides exemption from additional stamp duty on the import of goods such as raw materials and non-consumer goods.

The Income Tax Relief (Large-Scale Projects and Pioneer Industries) Act:

Targeted at large-scale projects or pioneering projects, this Act provides for an improved and more attractive rate for the Employers' Tax Credit (ETC). Projects to be designated either as large-scale or pioneer will be based on the decision of Parliament having been informed by an economic impact assessment. 

  • Large-scale projects will be assessed on the value of the capital expenditure, employment created, and business linkages created.
  • Pioneer industries projects are identified as those employing new, cutting edge and innovative methodologies and technologies to Jamaica. Such projects need not be large in scale, but should be transformational in nature, creating value-added impact to the Jamaican economy and society.
Greater details on the benefits and its application will be provided upon the finalisation of the regulations for this Act.

Other Incentive Schemes

Special Economic Zones Act:

A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is a designated geographical area in which approved economic activities are undertaken. Approved SEZ developers or occupants benefit from a range of fiscal incentives, including:

  • Duty-free importation
  • Value Added Tax (GCT) free importation
  • Lower CIT rate of 12.5 percent (half of the standard rate)
  • 10 percent Promotional Tax Credit (PTC) for training and R&D
  • 30 percent Employment Tax Credit (ETC)
  • Withholding Tax exemptions
The SEZ regime does not allow for operations in the following: extractive industries, telecommunications, financial services, catering, retail trade, health services (excluding R&D), construction services, public utilities, real estate and property management and tourism services.  For more information on SEZs see the "Special economic zones" section under the Land tab of this guide.

The Income Tax (Amendment) Act, 2012 (Group Headquarters) Encouragement Act:

Companies interested in establishing group head offices in Jamaica benefit from the exemption of the requirement to charge and pay over the personal income tax (PIT) for all its expatriate employees. Such companies must meet the following criteria:

  • Be incorporated or registered by the Companies Office of Jamaica.
  • Employ at least 30 percent of Jamaicans in its operations.
  • Carry out the (i) supervision, management/monitoring or its operations; (ii) accounting, data processing, engineering and other technical support; (iii) centralised treasury management and funding activities; as well as (iv) other activities that may be gazetted by the Minister of Finance.

The Junior Market Income Tax (Amendment) Act:

Companies listed on the Junior Stock Exchange are exempted from corporate income tax (CIT):

  • 100 percent of the CIT in the first five years from the date of admission to the Junior Market.
  • 50 percent of the CIT in the following five years.

The Urban Renewal (Tax Relief) Act, 1995:

This Act provides a framework for granting incentives to those who invest in the development, rehabilitation or refurbishing of land or buildings in areas declared as Special Development Areas (SDAs) through the Tax Incentive Programme.  Bonds may be issued or underwritten by licensed financial institutions to mobilise funds to finance projects in the SDAs.
  • The issuer and investors in the bonds enjoy tax-free interest on the bonds.
  • Investment Tax Credit of 33.3 percent can be enjoyed on capital sums invested for the improvement to property (buildings, parking facilities, landscaping and facade improvements) during the incentive period.
  • Full relief from income tax on any rental or lease from the improved property during the incentive period.
  • Exemption from transfer tax and stamp duties during the incentive period, on every transfer of title to any improved property, property to be improved, or lands.

The Bauxite and Alumina Industries (Encouragement) Act, 1950:

A business engaged in the mining of bauxite or the production of alumina in Jamaica receives concessions on capital goods, lubricating oils, grease and other chemicals under this Act.
  • Recognised bauxite and alumina producers can import productive inputs free from:
    • import duties
    • Value Added Tax (GCT)
    • All other port-related taxes and charges
  • These recognised producers also automatically qualified for import duty concessions on lubricating oils, grease and other such related chemicals, except petrol.
Applications should be made to the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI).

Investment facilitation

JAMPRO is the government's trade and investment promotions agency.  It promotes business opportunities in trade and investment to the local and international private sectors.  In facilitating the implementation of investment and export projects, the organisation is a key policy advocate and advisor to the government in matters pertaining to the improvement of Jamaica’s business environment and the development of new and priority industries. 

A key goal is to transform the Jamaican business landscape to accommodate more international investors seeking to locate/expand their operations in a pro-business destination. This involves strengthening ministries, departments and agencies, increasing efficiencies to reduce red tape and bureaucracy and improve the overall ease of doing business across the country. In facilitating both local and foreign direct investment, JAMPRO guides investors through the necessary processes and offers support in partnership with key government agencies and ministries, even after their investments are operational. 

What investors think

Investors did not indicate any significant concerns regarding the business registration process. Ii was noted that in office walk-in wait times could be reduced, but it was anticipated that with the COJ's new on-line registration process, this will improve. 

No concerns were raised with regards to barriers to foreign investment.

Population and skills

The population of Jamaica is estimated at 2.73 million in 2018, of which 76.5 percent is between the working ages of 15-64 years old (STATIN). Jamaica is considered to be a country at the advanced stage of demographic transition, with a median age of 31.0 years and the life expectancy at birth of 74.3 years, which has potentially important implications for economic growth. 

Skills and education

Education in Jamaica is administered primarily by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, through its head office and six regional offices.  Formal education is provided largely by the government in partnerships with parents, churches and trusts and some private institutions. The major activities in the education and training sectors are focused primarily on improving quality, access and relevance and this is in keeping the vision 2030 National Development Plan. An estimated 73.7 percent in the school age cohort (3–24 years old) is enrolled in educational institutions with pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary levels at 98.0, 99.9, 88.5 and 32.9 percent respectively.

At the tertiary level, there are several universities, both public and private, as well as, "offshore" institutions that have been granted licenses to operate in Jamaica. However, non-university institutions account for the majority of the tertiary education sector and public institutions in this group include teachers’ colleges, community colleges, a technical and vocational education and training institute, and special training colleges for civil servants. On the private side, there are theological colleges, business colleges, nursing and midwifery schools, professional studies colleges and various technical institutes. 

Jamaicans have access to the wide variety of degree programmes that are on offer, supplemented by diplomas and certificates available through the range of non-university facilities. Some institutions, also offer distance learning programmes and have been able to export their services in this way.

Additional tertiary institutions: local colleges, institutes and training facilities

  • College of Agriculture, Science & Education
  • Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts
  • G.C. Foster College of Physical Education & Sport
  • University College of the Caribbean (UCC); trading as University of the Commonwealth Caribbean

Additional tertiary institutions: local universities:

  • Caribbean Maritime University (formerly Caribbean Maritime Institute)
  • Northern Caribbean University 
  • University of Technology, Jamaica
  • The University of the West Indies 

National skills training institute


The Human Employment and Resource Training Trust, National Training Agency known simply as ‘HEART’ is focused primarily on stimulating economic growth and job creation through the development of a highly skilled, productive and competitive workforce that is certified to international standards.

In accordance with the HEART Act, the organisation is charged with ensuring that there exists "an adequate number of persons trained for employment in the technical and vocational fields". This training maintains a workforce equipped with the emerging skills needed to remain relevant in a rapidly changing and dynamic global marketplace. 

HEART operates 27 technical and vocational education and training locations which focus on providing a variety of training options to all Jamaicans seeking to advance their career options. Their programmes are geared at transforming the lives of school leavers, as well as, employed persons who require further training and certification.  To date, more than 613,000 individuals have been trained and over 254,000 certified; and these certified professionals now serve scores of organisations at different spectrums within both local and international, medium and small businesses.

Employment and contracts

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is concerned with matters affecting individuals in their capacity as workers, employers and members of Jamaica’s labour force. These matters include industrial relations, terms and condition of employment, industrial safety, employment promotion, as well as, providing a source of income for workers who are injured on the job and retirement benefits.

Jamaica is also a signatory to several fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which governs international issues related to labour and worker rights. In addition, the government is also currently adopting the ILO policy on HIV/AIDS in the workplace. In conjunction with the ILO and local stakeholders, the Government also recently passed legislation guiding flexible working arrangements. 

Labour Relations

Jamaican labour laws allow workers to form or join unions and to bargain collectively, but they do not protect the right to strike. Membership of the trade union movement is estimated at about 20 percent of the labour force. Some unions are affiliated with the country's two main political parties while others remain relatively independent.

Jamaica also has an industrial disputes tribunal to which disputes may be referred with decisions final. The law denies collective bargaining if no single union represents at least 40 percent of the workers.

 The IDT deals with disputes involving not only unionised, but also non-unionised workers.  The objectives of the IDT are:

  • to facilitate the settlement of industrial disputes and to hand down awards in accordance with the law;
  • to achieve peaceful dispute resolution; and
  • to assist in the maintenance of industrial harmony and stability in the country.

In its determination and settlement of disputes, the IDT also pays attention to the Labour Relations Code. 


The table below reflects indicative wages that an investor may need to pay. 

It is important to note the national minimum wage for unskilled workers:

  • JMD$7000 per work week.
  • JMD$9700 per work week for security guards.

Most business establishments adhere to a 40 hour, five day work week. However, persons in the services industries tend to work more varied days and hours. In some cases, overtime pay will accrue to the worker for an excess of 40 working hours.

Overtime payments:

For work beyond 40 hours a week. 

Lump sum, honorarium and ex-gratia payments:

These payments include: 

  • Ex-gratia payments. 
  • Payments in commutation or in lieu of pensions (except commutation payments made through an approved superannuation scheme, or a scheme approved by the Commissioner General). 

Employment termination and redundancy payments:

The Employment (Termination and Redundancy Payments) Act provides for redundancy pay to employees who are let go with at least two years of continuous employment. Workers with up to ten years of employment are entitled to two weeks payment for every year worked, while workers with over ten years employment are entitled to three weeks payment except in cases such as firing for cause.

According to the Act, no redundancy payment is due if the employer has terminated the contract for reasons relating to the conduct of the employee. Upon redundancy, employers must provide employees with a written statement detailing how the redundancy payment has been calculated.


General ManagerUSD66002018Average monthly, plus allowances and other benefits
Senior ManagerUSD 54002018Average monthly, plus allowances and other benefits
IT ManagerUSD50002018Average monthly, plus allowances and other benefits
Middle ManagerUSD37502018Average monthly, plus allowances and other benefits
Architect/EngineerUSD25002018Average monthly, plus allowances and other benefits
Graduate EntryUSD8502018Average monthly
Administrative AssistantUSD10002018Average monthly, plus allowances
Skilled TechnicianUSD6252018Average monthly
DriverUSD4602018Average monthly
Unskilled LabourerUSD3752018Average monthly
Shop AssistantUSD3502018Average monthly
Security GuardUSD2802018Average monthly

Non-wage benefits

Non-wage benefits required by law are listed in the table below. To this should also be added social security contributions, further down on this page.

Additional benefits that employers may wish to provide can include:
  • health insurance.
  • life insurance.
  • transportation or travelling allowance.
  • uniform allowance.
  • lunch allowance.
Fringe benefits vary by employee position and by industry, but generally range between 22 - 25 percent of wages.

Non-wage benefits

Benefit description Amount
Sick leave 10 days
Vacation leave 10 days
Maternity leave 12 weeks

Social security contributions

Employers are required to register their business under the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) following which they will receive a reference number. Employers should also ensure their employees are registered.  To register, investors should visit the NIS office.

The NIS is a compulsory contributory funded social security scheme covering all employed persons in Jamaica. It is administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, under the National Insurance Act and offers some financial protection to the worker and their family against loss of income arising from injury on the job, sickness, retirement or death of the bread winner. It provides for:

  • Employment Injury Benefit.
  • Employment Injury Disablement Benefit.
  • Employment Injury Death Benefit.
  • Retirement Pension.
  • Spouse Allowance.
  • Widow’s/Widower’s Benefit.
  • NI Gold Health Insurance.

All persons between the ages of 18 and 70 who are gainfully occupied in insurable employment are required to be registered with the NIS. The insurable population includes employed persons, self-employed persons and voluntary contributors. 

Contributions paid to the NIS are invested by the National Insurance Fund in real estate, money and equity markets. Effective April 2019 the contributions rate for the NIS was increased to 5.5 percent. There will be a further increase to 6 percent from April 2020. 

Employee and employer contributions as a percentage of gross emoluments are listed below; and should be remitted to Tax Administration Jamaica.

Social security contributions

Year Employee Contribution Employer Contribution Minimum contribution Annual insurance wage ceiling
2019 2.75% 2.75% JMD$ 150 per week JMD$ 1.5 million
2020 3% 3% JMD$ 200 per week JMD$ 1.5 million
2021 3% 3% JMD$ 250 per week JMD$ 3 million
2022 3% 3% TBD JMD$ 5 million

Work permits

Under the Work Permit Act, foreign nationals who wish to engage in employment activities, are required to obtain either a work permit or work permit exemption prior to arrival in Jamaica. In addition, the law, which seeks to give first preference to Jamaicans, requires organisations planning to employ foreign nationals to prove that attempts were initially made to employ a Jamaican national.

Persons seeking to obtain a work permit are required to make an application to the Work Permit Section of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security through:

  • their prospective employer;
  • a contractor, for individuals;
  • JAMPRO, for investors; or
  • through legal representation.

A work permit may be granted to two categories of individuals: 

  • Those who are seeking to be employed in Jamaica; and
  • Those who are seeking to invest, or to operate a business in the island.

Work permit exemptions:

Certain categories of individuals who are not required to apply for a work permit:

  • Members of the diplomatic corps.
  • Citizens of CARICOM member countries.
  • Foreign nationals who are married either to a Jamaican or CARICOM national.

In the case of a CARICOM national, a document called “A Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skilled Person” is issued to persons who qualify under the CARICOM (Free Movement) Skilled Persons Act, which facilitates the free movement of Caribbean professionals within the Caribbean region. Each CARICOM member state is required to issue this certification to qualified skilled persons entering their shores to engage in any form of employment.

The permit will be valid for a period of between six months and three years - the period for which the permit is granted will depend on the applicant’s skill and the time requested.

Procedure for obtaining a work permit

To apply for a work permit, applications should be submitted to the MLSS along with several supporting documents and a non-refundable application fee of JMD$15,000. Applicants should submit a cover letter outlining the nature and duration of the work to be undertaken or details of the investment proposal. 

The following documents should be included (where applicable):

  • Completed application form.
  • Original police record issued by applicant’s country of residence.
  • CV outlining the applicant’s professional experience.
  • Certified copies of degrees and diplomas.
  • A letter of recommendation or written reference from the previous employer of the applicant or evidence of the activity of the applicant abroad.
  • Two certified passport size photographs of the applicant.
  • Two certified copies of the bio-data page of applicant’s passport.
  • A Tax Compliance Certificate.
  • Proof of business registration.

Where the documents are not in English, a certified English translation of the relevant documents is required.

What investors think

Investors noted that at times the work permit process could be somewhat lengthy and time consuming, however there were no real concerns raised with respect to the documentation required.


Jamaica has a high degree of coverage for electricity as approximately 90 percent of its rural areas have electricity access and 92 percent of all Jamaican households at the national level are connected. In 2018 energy consumption was at 20.638 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) with 1.577 million BOE in consumption from alternative energy sources.  For the purposes of energy security, the government is focused on the diversification of Jamaica's energy supply to increase the mix of energy sources. To this end, there is no restriction on the sources of electricity generation in Jamaica which may include solar photovoltaic, wind, hydro, biofuels/biomass and waste to energy solutions, petroleum coke, coal and natural gas.

The electricity industry is dominated by a single integrated company, the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS), which has a legal monopoly on transmission and distribution. It is the largest energy supplier and also has generating capacity. Within the industry, electricity generation is organised around a market in which independent power producers (IPPs) can compete for long-term generation contracts to sell electricity to JPS.

Investors who wish to be connected to the JPS grid (either as an IPP or customer) must visit the JPS at some point to apply for service to secure your electricity connection.  Prior to being connected, all of the electrical wiring work for your facility or development must be installed.  Once completed the electrical wiring will need to be inspected and certified by the Government Electrical Inspectorate (GEI).  Only after inspection and certification can your facility be connected to the grid.  Developers are encouraged to contact JPS early in the development planning process in order to ensure that the electrical supply required is available in a timely manner.


Rate ClassCurrencyEnergy ChargeYearOther Charges/Month
Rate 10: Residential CustomersJMD$9.66/Kwh2018-2019for the 1st 100 kWh; plus $445.39 customer charge; plus $22.49/kWh in excess of 100 kWhs
Rate 20: Small Commercial CustomersJMD$18.55/Kwh2018-2019$992.24 customer charge
Rate 40: Large Commercial CustomersJMD$5.77/kWh2018-2019$6990.81 customer charge; plus demand charge: $1790.05/kVA (standard) $1008.48/kVA (on-peak) $787.63 (part-peak) $75.49 (off-peak)
Rate 50: Industrial CustomersJMD$5.57/kWh2018-2019$6990.81 customer charge; plus demand charge: $1603.66/kVA (standard) $895.30/kVA (on-peak) $697.81 (part-peak) $71.51 (off-peak)
Rate 70: Industrial CustomersJMD$3.71/kWh2018-2019$6990.81 customer charge; plus demand charge: $1526.30/kVA (standard) $864.33/kVA (on-peak) $672.78 (part-peak) $68.33 (off-peak)


Approximately 30 percent of the water abstracted in Jamaica is used to meet the demand for potable water and the remaining 70 percent is used for irrigation. In Jamaica, rainfall is the sole source of water across the island, yielding three basic water resource types: i) surface water – rivers and streams; ii) groundwater – wells and springs; and iii) direct rainwater – rainwater harvesting.

The main service provider is the National Water Commission (NWC), which also has responsibility for sewage treatment.  However, nationally the supply of domestic potable water to the public is shared between the following institutions:

  • National Water Commission - island wide (urban and rural) by statue.
  • Local authorities/municipal corporations - rural areas by statute.
  • Other government enterprises - specific supply areas by license.
  • Private enterprises - specific supply areas by license.
  • ODPEM - Island wide under conditions of disaster.

During the construction, implementation and operation of your investment development, in order for it to be supplied with water or connected to an existing wastewater and sewerage system, you will most likely need to apply to the NWC for your water and sewerage connections.  An application for connection and service may be made at any NWC office island wide.


Residential: JMD$103.672018Per 1000 litres. Usage - For up to 14,000 litres
Residential: JMD$182.802018Per 1000 litres. Usage - For the next 13,000 litres
Residential: JMD$197.382018Per 1000 litres. Usage - For the next 14,000 litres
Residential: JMD$251.932018Per 1000 litres. Usage - For the next 14,000 litres
Residential: JMD$313.712018Per 1000 litres. Usage - For the next 36,000 litres
Residential: JMD$403.832018Per 1000 litres. Usage - For over 91,000 litres
Commercial: JMD$388.752018Per 1000 litres. Usage - All quantities
Condominium: JMD$192.832018Per 1000 litres. Usage - All quantities


Jamaica’s has an advanced telecommunications infrastructure which includes a fully digital telecommunications network, a submarine fibre optic transmission ring around the island, international submarine cable links through the Cayman-Jamaica fibre system and the Columbus Communications’ Fibralink system to the Dominican Republic. The island also has three free-to-air television stations, subscription cable services, and roughly thirty radio stations.

The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology has portfolio responsibility for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, which consists of telecommunications, postal communications and the infrastructure related to the delivery of audio-visual broadcast services.  The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) - in addition to issuing rules and directives to telecommunication providers, receives and processes applications for licences to provide telecommunication services. 

Currently there are only two key players in the industry and investors will need to apply directly to them for their telecoms connections and services. They are:

Both have extended their LTE networks across the island, offering coverage to about 90 percent of the population at the end of 2018. Each mobile provider has established their own network which interconnects the other mobile networks, as well as, with the fixed line networks (PSTN operated by Cable and Wireless Jamaica and the Fibre Optic network operated by Fibralink in partnership with Flow). 


Digicel: Broadband Internet Fibre PlansJMD/month$5299.002019Play 50: download 50Mbps/upload 25Mbps
Digicel: Broadband Internet Fibre PlansJMD/month$18499.002019Play 400: download 400Mbps/upload 200Mbps
Digicel: Mobile Plans (Pre-paid)JMD/MB$20.002019Data
Digicel: Mobile Plans (Pre-paid)JMD/minute$8.992019International calling CAN, US, China, and landlines in UK & Spain
Digicel: International PlansJMD$12502019830 minutes over 30 days
Digicel: International PlansJMD$150020191000 minutes over 30 days
Flow: Mobile Postpaid PlansJMD/month$230020195GB plan
Flow: Mobile Postpaid PlansJMD/month$240020198GB plan
Flow: Mobile Prepaid PlansJMD$1500201928 days – 2 GB of Data
Flow Internet: Mega Extreme Plan BundleJMD/month$43002019For Talk Credit + up to 8 Mbps + installation fee $1,495
Flow Internet: Browse & Talk Plus BundleJMD/month$36502019For 275 Free Minutes + up to 4 Mbps + installation fee $1,495

Find out more...

Relevant documents OUR Act (amended), 2000

Transport infrastructure

The following section presents Jamaica's transport infrastructure.

Find out more...

Relevant documents Vision 2030 Transport Sector Plan

Road transport

Jamaica has a dense road network with almost 25,000 kilometres of roads, of which over 15,000 kilometres is paved. This includes highways, primary, secondary, parochial roads and unclassified roads.  

The construction of the Highway 2000 (H2K),  which connects Kingston, with Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, has facilitated direct and efficient linkages between economic centres in the country. Additionally, visitors to Jamaica staying in Ocho Rios can either land in Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport, or Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport, and have the same travel time to their resort destinations. In addition, cruise ship passengers arriving in the Ocho Rios port can easily schedule visits to historic areas of Spanish Town and Kingston.

Today, various traffic management initiatives continue to be implemented by the National Works Agency in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) as well as, in the other parishes, to address congestion issues. The government has also embarked on road development and maintenance initiatives in recent years, which have significantly improved the island’s road network.

Rail transport

Rail transport dates back to the 1880s. Public railway tracks belonging to the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC) span 335 kilometres across the island, connecting nine of fourteen parishes and over forty stations. Since the closure of public passenger and freight transport services, railway operations are currently limited to the activities of bauxite companies in the island.

The government has been actively pursuing efforts for the privatisation of rail services with plans to restore the railway network. The JRC has proposed a solution for the rehabilitation and build-out of railway services.

Air Transport

The air transport sector consists of three international airports in Jamaica as well as three domestic aerodromes. 

Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA)

NMIA is located on a peninsula next to the capital city of Kingston, and only 20 minutes from the main business centre. The value of the economic activity generated by NMIA is estimated at JMD$15.2 billion (equivalent to 5.6 percent of GDP).

The airport is currently served by thirteen international airlines, caters to 29 percent of total air traffic (approximately 1.7 million passengers), with an approximate 2-3 percent average annual growth rate. It also handles over 70 percent (17.0 million kg) of the Island’s airfreight.

Sangster International Airport (SIA)

Located on Jamaica’s northwest coast in the regional tourism hub of Montego Bay, St. James, SIA is the second global and leading tourism gateway to the island. It is the country’s largest airport and handles 3.6 million passengers annually with a peak arriving and departing capacity of 4,200 passengers per hour. The airport is within a comfortable driving distance of the cruise ports at Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril. In addition to international terminals, this airport has a private jet area with dedicated immigration and customs processing.

Ian Fleming International Airport (IFIA)

IFIA is located in Boscobel, St. Mary, just 15 km from the resort town of Ocho Rios in St. Ann. It primarily handles small jets and supports both domestic, as well as, international aviation. This airport is a convenient entry point to Jamaica's north coast and is geared primarily to general aviation, welcoming private and smaller commercial aircraft. The IFIA serves the tourist resort area, including the towns of Oracabessa, Port Maria, St. Ann's Bay, Runaway Bay, Discovery Bay and Ocho Rios.

The Tinson Pen Aerodrome

The largest of the country’s aerodromes, Tinson Pen is adjacent to the Kingston Free Zone and the Port of Kingston - the largest transhipment port in the english-speaking Caribbean. As a vital commercial link between Kingston and Montego Bay, this aerodrome caters mainly to business travellers and offers a variety of small parcel services. Daily flights to the resort cities of Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio are available. Tinson Pen also facilitates non-scheduled and private aircrafts, flight training schools and aircraft maintenance.

The Ken Jones Aerodrome

Just west of Port Antonio, this aerodrome, serves the tourist resorts in the northeastern section of Jamaica, as well as, the local travel market (both business and leisure). The aerodrome has a single runway, and a terminal building with a passenger-waiting lounge and seating for 24-30 persons. 

The Negril Aerodrome

Situated north of Negril Point this aerodrome serves primarily the tourist resorts located in the western end of the country. The runway at Negril Aerodrome was extended to create a 150-metre safety area, which has significantly improved the level of service and operational safety at the aerodrome. 

Maritime Transport

Jamaica’s maritime transport sector is almost entirely represented by deep-sea transport. The role of maritime transport is also enhanced by Jamaica’s location along side strategic sea trade routes and by the projected increase in transhipment traffic through the Caribbean over the long term based on the expansion of the Panama Canal.

The government has committed to the establishment of Jamaica as a global transhipment and logistics hub. This involves significant ongoing investment in the Port of Kingston infrastructure and efforts to create linkages with investments connected to support services, manufacturing and industrial zones.

Jamaica’s maritime infrastructure consists of 14 main ports: four bauxite/alumina; four cruise and two main cargo ports in Kingston. In 2018, Jamaica's ports handled 30.0 million tonnes of cargo, of which 12.8 million were transhipment, and an estimated 4.0 million cruise passengers.

Cargo ports:

The Kingston Container Terminal (KCT) is one of the leading container transhipment ports in the region and a key player in Jamaica’s thrust into the global logistics industry. Owned by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), KCT is equipped with world-class facilities and has an annual rated capacity of 3.2 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit). The main line services are to North and South America, Europe, the Far East and Australia. In light of the port’s strategic geographical position, plans are in place for the KCT to achieve mega hub status, in order to maximise the expected benefits from the expansion of the Panama Canal.

Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) is recognised as the region’s leading multipurpose port terminal operator, connecting Jamaica’s importers and exporters to over 20 international ports in the Caribbean, Latin and North America. The 25 hectare terminal offers 22 hectares of open storage with 30,000 square meters of covered warehousing and cold storage. The company also has 53,000 square meters of secure off-dock storage for motor vehicles.  KWL operates a terminal in Port Bustamante and adjoins the Kingston Container Terminal. The facilities under the purview of KWL play a critical role in the island’s logistics infrastructure and will be an important component of the Jamaica Logistics Hub initiative.

Cruise ports:

Montego Bay is managed by the Port Handlers Limited on behalf of the Port Authority. It has three berths for cruise ships including two dedicated berths. The cruise terminal has gift shops, snack bars, a telecom centre and other facilities for passengers. The Port Authority plans to expand both marine and shoreside facilities at Montego Bay to handle the next generation of mega cruise ships.

Ocho Rios has three cruise ship berths, including a dedicated Cruise Ship Pier, which has two berths and is operated by Lannaman & Morris (Shipping) Limited.

Falmouth is managed by the Port Authority. The port's cruise terminal was designed in the Georgian style to reflect the period architecture of the town. There are two berths of equal length which are able to accommodate vessels up to Oasis-class size. Facilities for passengers include extensive duty free and retail shopping along with a wide choice of food and beverages.

Port Antonio has two berths and other facilities designed to accommodate smaller vessels.

Other ports:

In addition, there are four bauxite seaports at Discovery Bay (Port Rhoades), Port Esquivel, Port Kaiser and Rocky Point.

Transport costs

Indicative costs for petroleum (fuel 87/90/diesel/etc.) and sea freight transport (only - all other related costs/taxes/duties/fees additional), inbound to Jamaica from various ports of origin are provided below:


Gasolene 87JMD130.65282019per Litre
Gasolene 90JMD133.48872019per Litre
Auto DieselJMD138.87032019per Litre
From UK to Jamaica: FCLGBP£1500.00201920ft container
From UK to Jamaica: FCLGBP£3446.64201940ft container
From US/New York to Jamaica: FCLUSD$1719.00201920ft container
From US/New York to Jamaica: FCLUSD$2152.00201940ft container
From US/Miami to Jamaica: FCLUSD$1693.00201920ft container
From US/Miami to Jamaica: FCLUSD$2070.00201940ft container
From EU/Barcelona to Jamaica: FCLEUR€2937.17201940ft container
From Shanghai to Jamaica: FCLUSD$2400.00201940ft container

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ)

Other costs

The prices included below are meant to be indicative only and reflect some basic food basket and other general items.

Retail Prices

CabbageJMD342.002019local (green): 1 kg
CarrotsJMD684.002019local: 1 kg
Irish PotatoesJMD565.002019local: 1 kg
Sweet PotatoesJMD436.002019local: 1 kg
Yellow YamJMD650.002019local: 1 kg
EggsJMD449.692019local: 1 doz
Fresh MilkJMD318.002019tetrapack (box): 1 L
Drinking waterJMD65.962019bottled: 500 mL
BreadJMD315.002019loaf: 2 lb
Counter FlourJMD95.002019bulk: 1 kg
CornmealJMD110.452019bulk: 1 kg
Brown SugarJMD207.792019pre-packaged: 1 kg
Granulated SugarJMD429.002019refined (packaged): 1 kg
RiceJMD200.002019long grained, pre-packaged: 800 g - 1 kg
CrackersJMD158.002019packaged: 350 g
Cooking OilJMD402.002019bulk: 1 L
Corned BeefJMD457.372019canned: 340 g
MackerelJMD102.742019canned: 155 g
Dried Salted FishJMD1000.002019bulk: 1 kg
ChickenJMD598.002019local (mixed parts): 1 kg
ChickenJMD615.002019frozen (mixed parts): 1 kg
Whole ChickenJMD503.762019grade A, frozen: 1 kg
SyrupJMD303.002019bulk: 1 L
Baked BeansJMD135.282019canned: 400 g
Beverages: Beer JMD172.632019bottled: 341 mL
Bath SoapJMD77.002019bar: 115 g
KeroseneJMD116.44582019per Litre

What investors think

While the electricity supply is quite stable and reliable, there are periods when outages do occur and investors that rely heavily on electricity for production are advised to have a backup supply. Costs of electricity are reported to be somewhat high.

Water supply has seasonal challenges (drought periods) which can significantly affect agricultural production. Water storage tanks are recommended.

It is hoped that the recently completed and current road works projects will significantly help to reduce the traffic management and congestion challenges being experienced by commuters.

Types of land and ownership

In Jamaica, there are no restrictions on property ownership, and an investor can lease or buy land from the government or the private sector and foreign nationals (non-citizens and non-residents) are eligible to buy and own property without any restrictions or limitations. However, there are specific processes relating to the purchase or lease of government (known as crown) or privately-owned land. 

It should be noted, that acquiring crown lands is always subject to the guidelines of the Land Divestment Policy, which is built on the guiding principles of transparency, equity, sustainable land utilisation and management, and the use of the divestment process to build social and economic capital for Jamaica. 

Based on the British system, fee simple absolute ownership is the main form of property ownership in Jamaica, and therefore the owner may do whatever they choose with the land. Jamaica uses the Torrens System of land registration, which is both a land registration and land transfer system, and is adopted under the Registration of Titles Act, 1889. Two different systems of land ownership and conveyancing are used in Jamaica: the common law system and the state registration of titles system.

The titling system recognises two types of land titles:

  • The first is a Common Law Title, which is an ownership certificate used for land that is unregistered. The common law title is a deed of conveyance, it is not a full title for the land, but it can be advanced to a registered title.  
  • The second type is a Registered Title, which is both the official and legal form of title.

Acquisition procedures

Government-owned (crown) land:


In Jamaica, divestment of crown lands is done through two different processes:

  • Administration of crown land leases: The government leases crown lands in order to maximise the use of land for agricultural purposes and to generate revenue. There are about approximately 200 parcels leased in this category, mostly for agricultural purposes.
  • Divestment of crown land by sale: The government divests its real property assets through the process of public tender and sale of the asset.

Application for crown land:

Where an investor has identified government-owned land and is interested in purchasing or leasing from the National Land Agency (NLA) or any other government agency, they will need to submit a written application to the NLA or the pertinent government agency.

A business plan setting out proposals for the use of the property, financing, and other relevant details, should also be submitted.

Currently, there is no fee associated with submitting an application to purchase or lease government lands. 

Privately owned land:

This is sold directly from seller to buyer. During a land sale transaction, once the agreement for sale has been prepared, and both parties have signed, the sale becomes binding and official. After being executed by both parties, the documents then need to be stamped and government duties paid. Properties cannot be legally transferred unless the transfer tax and stamp duty have been paid. In addition, the documents must be stamped within thirty days of signing.

At the end of the of the process, a copy of the properly registered legal and official title will be passed to the purchaser, and with the transfer of the title, this completes the sales transaction.

Registering the title:

After finalising the sales agreement and the necessary government duties and taxes have been paid, an application for registration of title should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar of Titles, within the time limit prescribed:

  • In the case of land that was previously unregistered (common law title), the prescribed time limit is two months, failing which the transfer becomes void.
  • In the case of registered land, it is suggested that the transfer is registered within the priority period of 30 days. Failing to do so, could result in the buyer losing priority in favour of another application.

The application to the Land Titles Division is usually submitted by the vendor.    

Overall processing fees:

The fees related to privately-owned land sale transactions in Jamaica can be significant, including broker’s/agent’s fees, attorneys’ fees, notaries’ fees, registration fees, and taxes and duties.  In addition, if the land or property ownership is not properly resolved and prepared for sale, such as matters related to freeing the land or property of encumbrances (which may include tenants or probating a will) and related expenses, this can result in additional costs for the vendor, but also significant time delays for the buyer.

Land costs

A table of the indicative costs related to the purchase and rental of the various land types is included below. It should be noted that prices will vary by factors such as location, topography, included structures, condition of the property and accessibility.

Prices of urban and rural real estate properties

Urban PropertiesUSDRange of prices $2019Prices vary by location and other variables above
Land parcels USD<$1 - $702019Sale price/sq. ft. - residential lots
Land parcels USD<$5 - $452019Sale price/sq. ft. - commercial lots
Residential propertyUSD$600 - $18002019Monthly rental - 1 bed/1 bath apartments
Residential propertyUSD$1000 - $30002019Monthly rental - 2 bed/2 bath apartments
Tourism propertyUSD<$30 - $1952019Sale price/sq. ft. – resort/villa/apartment
Commercial propertyUSD<$1 - $52019Monthly rental price/sq. ft. - building/space
Rural PropertiesUSDRange of prices $YearPrices vary by location and other variables above
Land parcelsUSD$30 - $7062019Sale price/sq. ft. - for residential developments (houses, apartments, condos, villas; lots)
Land parcelsUSD$2 - $352019Sale price/sq. ft. - for commercial developments
Tourism propertyUSD<$10 - $1052019Sale price/sq. ft. - resort villa/apartment
Industrial propertyUSD$14 - $1082019Sale price/sq. ft. - building/space
Agriculture propertyUSD$1000 - $272502019Sale price/acre - for agricultural developments
Commercial propertyUSD$2 - $252019Monthly rental price/sq. ft. - building/space

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Real Estate Board Jamaica (REB) National Land Agency (NLA)

Construction permit procedures

Prior to the implementation of any development in Jamaica, investors must apply for the following approvals and permits:

  • Planning Approvals (Town and Country Planning Act) – through municipal corporations/TCPA development orders.
  • Building Permit (Building Act) – through municipal corporations.
  • Subdivision Approval (Local Improvement Act) – through municipal corporations.
  • Environmental Permits (Natural Resources Conservation Act)  – through NEPA.

For Planning, Building and Subdivision permissions, investors should first consult with the local planning authority or municipal corporation, to determine the feasibility of their development and the requirements for application, before starting on any detailed design work. Investors will need to visit the MC within the parish of their development to submit their planning, building and subdivision applications and pay the relevant application fees. 

Environmental Permissions required to carry out development in Jamaica are obtained through the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). NEPA also provides recommendations for decisions on licences, permits and approvals for planning, building, subdivisions, beaches, hazardous waste export/import/transportation as well as, the provision of pre-application assistance.

The typical processing time for these applications is approximately 90 working days.  

  • Processing time for permits may vary depending on the number of reviewing agencies that need to provide feedback.
  • Once discrepancies are found with the application, the time is stopped and is restarted only once the necessary changes have been made and presented to the Corporation. 

Planning approvals

The types of planning applications usually submitted are:

  • Detailed planning (included with application for building permit)
  • Outline planning
  • Change of use
  • Retention of structure
  • Continuance of use
  • Determination

Bothe the planning approval and the building permit processes are consultative: the assessment starts at the municipal corporations and from there applications may be sent on to NEPA and several other reviewing agencies, for review and comments.  These include but are not limited to the National Works Agency, the Jamaica Fire Brigade,  the Water Resources Authority and the Ministry of Health and Wellness. 

Building permits

A building permit seeks to protect both the interests of the investor, as well as those of the general public at large, the parish and surrounding community.  In accordance with the Building Act, a permit is required for any of the following:

  • Construction/erection of building.
  • Demolition of building.
  • Additions/alterations and external repairs.
  • Temporary building and farm house.
  • Change in use of building from one use class to another - for example, residential to commercial.
  • External modifications.

Applications submitted are assessed based on the construction/building plans and drawings presented, and their conformance with local and international building standards, codes and best practices.

Planning and building submissions and approvals

Application process

It is recommended that your planning and building applications be submitted simultaneously.

  • Consult with the MC in the parish of your development to determine the feasibility and requirements for application.
  • Complete development planning, architectural/engineering design and construction drawings.
  • Submit application form along with completed drawings to the MC (number of sets of drawings to be submitted may depend on the type of development).
  • Pay relevant application and agency review (where applicable) fees.
  • MC reviews the application and if complete, forwards to reviewing agencies for comments.
  • Reviewing agencies return comments which may be incorporated as "conditions" for approval.
  • Application either approved or rejected.
  • Approval documents are collected from the MC.
  • Commence construction within 6 months of the issuance of the approval/permit or it shall lapse.
  • Contact the appropriate departments to carry out the inspections during the course of construction.
  • Keep a copy of the plans and permits on site.

If your application has been refused, the municipal corporation is required to write a notification letter to you stating the reason(s) for refusal and guide you as to the process that you can take to appeal this decision.

Subdivision approvals

As with the building and planning permissions, all applications for subdivision approval must be submitted to and approved by the municipal corporations before any work or construction can commence or the sale of any of the subdivided lots completed. 

When subdividing land, a locally commissioned land surveyor must be retained to prepare a plan of the entire property, including that portion, which is being bought or is to be used in the development.  

As an investor, it is important that you first consult with the MC in the parish of your development, and the land surveyor before starting on any detailed design work.  See the National Land Agency's (NLA's) website for more information on commissioned land surveyors.

Submitting for sub-division approvals

Application process

When submitting for subdivision approvals, you will need the following (some applications may require additional documentation):

  • 6 copies of the application form (may vary with MC)
  • 15-18 sets of your subdivision plans/drawings (may vary with MC)
    • 9 lots and under  -  15 copies
    • 10 lots and over  -  18 copies
  • Proof of ownership of the property
  • Property tax receipt confirming taxes are paid up-to-date
  • Certificate of complete tax payment
  • Valuation report
  • Applicable fees for both the MC and the National Works Agency (NWA)

If the subdivision is for 10 lots or more, a Project Information Form (PIF) needs to be filled out and submitted to National Environment & Planning Authority (NEPA).

Applications for non-agricultural subdivisions being 10 lots and over must be accompanied by a site investigation report and soil percolation test report. 

For more information see the checklist below and contact the MC in the parish of your development.

Environmental permits

Applications for environmental permits and licences must be submitted to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).  The main environmental issues to consider when contemplating development are:

  • biological resources
  • water resources
  • drainage
  • solid waste disposal
  • public health
  • coastal zone
  • protected areas
  • wetlands
  • natural hazards
  • air quality
  • sewage treatment and disposal 

Types of approval:

  • A Permit is required to undertake any construction, enterprise or development of a prescribed nature anywhere in the island and the territorial sea. The permit is intended to safeguard the various environmental and natural resources from direct damage due largely, but not exclusively, to physical development.
  • A licence is required for the handling of sewage or trade effluent and poisonous or harmful substances to be discharged into the air, ground or water, or by the construction, reconstruction or alteration works. It is to safeguard the various environmental media from contamination.

Permits are applicable to new activities and licences to both existing and new facilities. If the project falls within one of the "prescribed categories" of projects listed in the attached document below, investors must apply for an environmental permit or licence.  

A "beach licence" is required if the intention is to include and use the foreshore and sea floor as a part of the development.  Developers will need to visit NEPA to submit their applications for permits and licences along with the required supporting information and documentation, and pay the relevant fees.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA):

In applying to the NEPA for an environmental permit or licence, it may be determined that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) is required in line with criteria set out in the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) Act.

Some of the key agencies involved in the consultative process, include but are not limited to the following:

  • Ministry of Health and Wellness
  • Water Resources Authority
  • Mines and Geology Division
  • National Works Agency
  • Tourism Product Development Company
  • Jamaica Fire Brigade
  • Port Authority of Jamaica

EIA Process:

If NEPA deems, that an EIA is required, the following steps will be taken:

  • The applicant will be notified within ten working days of NEPA’s receipt of the application. 
  • The applicant will receive the terms of reference (TOR) for the EIA which highlights, the issues for particular attention. 

Once notified, the applicant will then be required to post two notices to the public: 

  • The first public notice will indicate that:
    • An EIA has been requested by NEPA.
    • How and where the public can access the TORs for review. This will allow the public to do their own research on the project and comment on the draft TORs.
  • The second public notice (published once the EIA report has been completed) will indicate that:
    • The EIA has been submitted to NEPA.
    • Where the public can access the EIA for perusal.
    • This second public notice may also include information about when and where the public presentation will be convened (if required).

Once completed, the EIA Report will feed back into the permit application processes.  

The results of the study are taken into account by the regulatory authority in the determination of whether the proposed development should be allowed, and under what conditions.  

Some of the report’s comments may be worded as conditions of the permit.

It should be noted that under the Act, the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) is authorised to issue, suspend and revoke permits and licenses if developments are not in compliance with the environmental standards and conditions of approval recommended in the EIA report and stipulated with the permit approval.

Submission requirements

Quick tips

  • For planning, building and subdivision permissions, investors/developers should visit the municipal corporations to collect the application form or download it from their websites. For each of the different applications, there may be specific documents to be submitted and a different procedure to be followed. 
  • Building Permits are only valid for 6 months after the date of issuance. If you do not intent to build within the initial 6 months after approval has been issued; take the plans back to the Council and get them REVALIDATED; the fee is calculated as follows: 10% of the original building fee
  • All supporting design, layout and construction plans/drawings must be signed by a locally registered architect/engineer. The correct number of copies of the plans/drawings to be submitted depends on the type and parish location of the development. 
  • For subdivision approvals - based on the size, location and the number of lots/parcels that the land must be divided into for the development - there may be specific additional documents to be submitted and the processing time may increase.  Investors should ensure that they consult the checklist at the back of the application forms.
  • For environmental permissions, investors should visit the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) to collect the application form for their environmental permit and/or for an environmental licence to discharge sewage effluent or trade effluent. Applications are also available by email request, on NEPA’s website and at the regional offices of the agency or the municipal corporations.
  • Prior to submission, arrangements can be made for a preliminary consultation at the Development Assistance Centre (DAC), located at NEPA.   
  • The Municipal Corporation also offers a walk-in “Pre-Check” service that the investor to bring in one (1) set of drawings/plans for review and comments prior to full submission. 

For application forms and to learn more about the details of these processes, please contact or visit NEPA or the MC in the parish of your development. 

Special economic zones

In light of the prospects arising from changes in international production, growing world trade and the expansion of the Panama Canal, Jamaica's Global Logistics Hub Initiative (GLHI) has brought into focus, the importance of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Driven by changes in global production and market conditions that are opening up new opportunities for small developing economies like Jamaica to actively participate in global value and supply chains, the government has upgraded its free zone (FZ) regime to a modern SEZ regime.  The goal is to place the country in a position to benefit from the international trade lanes and thereby attract large corporations that wish to benefit from the near shore value proposition. The regime also ensures Jamaica's conformance under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) rules for middle-income countries. 

The Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) has the legislative mandate to regulate, promote and foster the development of SEZs. Once fully developed, it is anticipated that the SEZ landscape will consist of the nation’s 14 seaports and 3 international airports; world-class large scale township type special economic zones such as Caymanas Special Economic Zone and Portland Bight Industrial Park; smaller multi-tenant zones such as Montego Bay Free Zone along with specialised stand-alone zones for, inter alia, ship repair (wet and dry dock), petroleum storage and distribution as few of the areas of opportunity.

The special economic zones (SEZ) regime

The types of SEZs established under the Act will include, General Zones and Specialised Zones as single-entity or multi-occupant zones that will target industries and sector such as: business service parks, free port zones, airport zones, free trade zones, industrial parks, information communication technology parks, science and technology parks and agricultural zones among others.

Under this regime companies can fall in either one of the following categories:

  • A Developer of an SEZ - is a company that undertakes the development of the zone, including roads, utilities etc. A Single Entity SEZ would also be classified as a SEZ Developer as well as an Occupant.
  • An Occupant of the SEZ - is a company that does business in the Zone and accesses the SEZ benefits.  Occupants can be further broken down into:
    • An SEZ Occupant
    • An SEZ User - is a company that undertakes business in the Zone or provides services to the Developer or Occupant but does not benefit from SEZ fiscal incentives.
  • MSME Occupant of the SEZ – this is a company (micro, small or medium enterprise) operating under a sub-concession agreement under the MSME classification as prescribed by the Authority.  See classification in the second schedule of the SEZ Act.

For more information on how to apply for SEZ status, investors should contact JSEZA or visit their website.

Eligibility criteria

Which industries qualify?

The SEZ Act specifically excludes activities in the following industries, and as such, activities in the following industries are not permitted in SEZs:  

  • Extractive industries
  • Tourism
  • Telecommunication
  • Public utilities (except generation of electricity for personal use or resale to national provider)
  • Financial services regulated by the Bank of Jamaica or the Financial Services Commission
  • Construction services, unless as part of a manufacturing process within a Zone
  • Real estate
  • Health services, excluding research and development
  • Catering services
  • Retail trade

SEZ application process

Investors should visit JSEZA to collect an application form, one may be requested via email or you may also schedule an appointment with the JSEZA and a representative will be assigned to assist you with filling out the documentation in order to complete and submit your application for SEZ status.  Forms are also available on the website for download, printing and completion.

New application requirements:

  • Complete and submit the relevant application form.
  • Include the required supporting documentation.  
  • Pay your application fee.

You will need to select the appropriate application form(s) to be completed and submitted (developer/occupant/zone user/MSME occupant) along with the specified supporting documentation/information (contact JSEZA for a full list). 

The transition from FZ to SEZ:

Within the SEZ law there is a transitional mechanism in place designed to facilitate the conversion of existing free zone (FZ) companies. The major feature of this mechanism is:

  • Existing FZ companies will have a transitional period in which to regularise themselves and transition to full SEZ status. 
  • The benefits of any FZ holder, currently registered with the SEZ Authority, will automatically continue until the end of the transition period. 
JSEZA will therefore register all FZ entities (which apply for status) under the SEZ regime and preserve their FZ fiscal benefits during the grandfathering period which expires December 31, 2019.

To apply, FZ entities should complete the requisite application form, which is available through the SEZ Authority and may be requested via email; or you may schedule an appointment with the JSEZA and a representative will be assigned to assist you with completing the documentation.

What investors think

Investors noted that while acquiring land or real estate in Jamaica can be a straightforward process it is recommended that the services of an attorney-at-law be retained and proof of ownership obtained. Land in Jamaica is purchased “as is” and therefore, it is important for the purchaser to do their due diligence including viewing the land beforehand, ensuring titles are correct, and understanding the process to ensure that the sale can be completed without issues or delays.

Tax registration

All individuals (Jamaican or foreign national) and legally registered companies operating in Jamaica must go through the tax registration process. This is necessary even if the individual or the company’s principals are from a foreign territory and are covered under a double taxation agreement (DTA) with Jamaica.

Registration for all tax types begin with a visit to the TAJ’s Taxpayer Registration Centre (TRC) where all taxpayers (individuals or companies) should obtain a taxpayer registration number (TRN). A TRN is essential for transacting business with most institutions, including banks, schools and examination boards. In addition, the TRN must be used when conducting business transactions with tax departments or government ministries, departments and agencies. 

Further, any person who operates a business or receives income, which has not been taxed at the source of payment, is required to register as a taxpayer and file an income tax return each year. These include:

  • Self-employed persons (including partners)
  • Employed persons with other (external) sources of income (rental income, sale of goods or services)
  • Companies
  • Other bodies (including charities, partnerships, provident societies)

Find out more...

Relevant documents Tax Administration Jamaica Act
Relevant institutions Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ)

Corporate income tax (CIT)

A company, wherever incorporated, is regarded as resident in Jamaica, if its central management and control is located and exercised in Jamaica, and a resident corporation is taxable on its worldwide income no matter where it arises. Non-resident companies are however, only subject to tax on income of the branch carrying on a trade or business in Jamaica, that is, the income arises in Jamaica. 

For non-resident corporations, tax is imposed on certain sources of income, such as interest, dividends, royalties, and fees, by way of withholding.  Reduced rates of withholding may be applicable, provided that the recipient is resident in a country that has concluded a double taxation treaty (DTT) with Jamaica.  Income includes profit or gain from business, trade, profession, vocation, rent, interest, dividends, farming and others. 

Income tax is imposed at the national level only, and there is no separate tax related to income which is imposed at the local or parish level. The following CIT rates are levied on companies in Jamaica:

Corporate income tax rates

Classification Definition CIT rate (%)
Unregulated company A company (that is not a regulated company) registered and operating within Jamaica. 25
Regulated company A company that is regulated by the Bank of Jamaica (other than building societies), the Financial Services Commission (other than life assurance companies), the Office of Utilities Regulation, or the ministry with responsibility for finance. 33⅓
Building society An entity similar to a savings and loan association. 30
Life assurance companies 25

Personal income tax (PIT)

Personal income tax (PIT) is imposed  on individuals at the national level only and the individual's citizenship and residency status will help to determine the source of their chargeable income. Jamaicans, residents and individuals domiciled in Jamaica, are taxed on their worldwide income; while non-resident individuals are taxed only on their Jamaican-sourced income; and a non-domiciled individual working in Jamaica is taxed on the compensation for services rendered in and in relation to Jamaica (subject to certain exceptions), as well as, any other Jamaican-sourced income.

Individuals are considered to be resident in Jamaica for a tax year (that is, the calendar year) if they satisfy any of one of several conditions:

  • They spend at least six months in Jamaica in the tax year or visit Jamaica with the intention of establishing tax residence and actually do so.
  • They (or their spouses) have a place of abode available for their use in Jamaica, and they visit the island at any time during the tax year, no matter how short the stay.
  • They habitually visit Jamaica for substantial periods. The Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) generally regards periods totalling three months as substantial and visits occurring in four consecutive years as habitual.

PIT is based on an individual's overall earnings, which includes inter alia, salary, living allowances, benefits received in kind and use of company car. Therefore, benefits provided to employees, whether in cash or kind, are taxable.

Individuals are generally liable to pay personal income tax on their income in excess of the annual tax-free threshold. As of April 2017, the tax-free threshold is JMD$1.5 million.

In Jamaica, payroll taxes (social security contributions) are required (to be withheld) on emoluments paid by employers to their employees, including (subject to certain conditions) expatriates who undertake work in Jamaica. Employers, have a responsibility to calculate and deduct payroll taxes and to remit them to the government, prior to paying over salaries to their employees. These taxes include PAYE income tax, education tax, and contributions to the National Housing Trust (NHT), the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), and the Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) Trust.

The following contribution rates are applicable for employers and employees:

Payroll tax rates

Payroll Tax Basis Employee rate % Employer Rate %
PAYE Income Tax: Taxable emoluments up to 6 million Jamaican dollars (JMD) Taxable emoluments per annum less the annual tax-free threshold 25.00 N/A
PAYE Income Tax: Taxable emoluments in excess of 6 million Jamaican dollars (JMD) Taxable emoluments per annum less the annual tax-free threshold 30.00 N/A
Education Tax Taxable emoluments 2.25 3.50
NHT contributions Gross emoluments 2.00 3.00
NIS contributions Gross emoluments up to a maximum of JMD 1.5 million per annum 2.50 2.50
HEART/Trust NTA contributions Gross emoluments N/A 3.00

Withholding taxes

Withholding tax (WHT) only applies to specified services as listed in the law. That list is attached in documents below. Withholding should only be done if the value of the service, before general consumption tax (GCT) is added, is above the threshold of JMD$50000, and the general rate of the withholding tax is 3 percent of the gross amount payable to the service provider. 

The Income Tax Act also imposes an obligation for WHT to be deducted from chargeable payments made to non-resident companies and individuals receiving income in the form of dividends, preferred share dividends, interest and rentals, management fees, and royalties, as well as on interest on bank deposits to non-resident corporations. Therefore, Jamaican resident companies whether or not listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), are required to account for withholding tax on payments of dividends made to non-resident shareholders, subject to any double taxation agreements or treaties. 

Withholding for specified services will be done at the time of payment to the service provider or other entity. Where there is a series of payments in respect of the same invoice of JMD$50,000 or more, the 3 percent tax will be withheld from each payment.  Where there is a series of individual invoices each less than JMD$50,000 in respect of services provided by the same person, but aggregating to JMD$100,000 or more within a 30 day period, tax will be withheld as if it were a single invoice.

In addition, a Jamaican resident company making chargeable payments, such as, preferred share dividends, interest and rentals, management fees, and royalties and interest on bank deposits, to non-residents must withhold tax at the applicable rates (Domestic/Treaty) - see below.  

The following rates of WHT apply to the categories of payments highlighted. This list is indicative and is not an exhaustive list.

Withholding taxes

Recipient Dividends (%) Interest (%) Royalties (%) Management Fees (%)
Resident corporations 15 25 0 0
Resident individuals 15 25 0 0
Non-treaty: Non-resident corporations 33⅓ 33⅓ 33⅓ 33⅓
Non-treaty: Non-resident individuals 25 25 25 25
Treaty: CARICOM countries residents 0 15 15 15
Treaty: Canada 15 15 10 12.5
Treaty: China 5 7.5 10 0/33⅓
Treaty: Spain 10 10 10 0/10
Treaty: Sweden 22.5 12.5 10 10
Treaty: United Kingdom 15 12.5 10 12.5
Treaty: United States 15 12.5 10 0/33⅓

General consumption taxes

The general consumption tax (GCT) is a value-added tax imposed on the supply of goods or services within Jamaica (above a minimum turnover threshold) and on the import of goods or services to Jamaica. All "persons" engaged in a taxable activity are required to apply for registration under the General Consumption Tax Act.

Businesses which carry on an activity that is not exempt from general consumption tax (GCT) are required to file an application for GCT registration. Those businesses which total annual sales of goods and services that are less than the threshold of JMD$10 million for a twelve-month period will be exempt, that is, it will not collect GCT but will pay GCT on purchases of taxable goods and services and not be eligible for credit. The Act also allows for a GCT group accounting mechanism, whereby two or more affiliated entities may be approved by the Commissioner-General to be treated as a single taxpayer for GCT purposes.

Where a business' total annual sales of goods and services are JMD$10 million and over for a twelve-month period, they are required to register as GCT-registered taxpayers, and will collect and remit GCT, that is, they will pay GCT on their purchases and charge GCT on their sales. 

If the GCT charged is more than the GCT paid, the difference is to be paid to the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ); if however it is less, they may claim a GCT credit or refund. The input tax credit can be claimed for the materials and services purchased for further manufacture or for resale (including imports), purchases of capital property and any goods or services, such as office supplies, which are requirements to operate the business and subject to tax.

General consumption tax is also levied and collected at the ports of entry where goods are are imported for local consumption under the Customs Act. The "person" importing the goods is liable to pay the GCT to the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) at the same point when they are paying the customs' charges and duties.

To apply for GCT registration, a "person" should visit a TAJ Tax Office or Collectorate or Revenue Service Centre, and complete a GCT application form (Registration form - GCT‑ 1). This form may also be obtained online. Companies/businesses will need to have a valid Business Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) in order to apply. 

The list of items exempt (no tax applies) from general consumption tax (GCT) includes a range of basic food items, prescription drugs, certain medical supplies, as well as, certain construction, transportation, and financial and insurance services. Zero-rated goods and services include certain agricultural and fisheries inputs, exported goods and services, and purchases by diplomatic and international organisations and foreign governments.  For complete lists see the documents attached below.

GCT tax rates

Description Rate (%)
Standard Rate 16.5
Zero Rated Goods & Services 0
Advanced GCT (commercial importation goods) 5
Tourism Sector (hotels/businesses) 10
Telephone service and telephone instruments 25

Custom duties, taxes and fees

Customs duty is levied on the customs-determined value of goods imported, which is determined in accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Jamaica operates a common external tariff (CET) along with other trading partners of the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM). Goods imported from third countries are subject to the duties listed in the CET, but goods imported from CARICOM countries, that are certified to be of CARICOM origin, do not generally attract these import duties. Therefore, these CARICOM origin goods enjoy duty-free status, that is, they are not subject to customs import duty but other local taxes, general consumption tax and special consumption tax are payable. 

The rates of duty are published in the Jamaica Customs Tariff.

Import licences and permits:

A number of items require an import license or permit. These include: meats, fish, coconut products, edible oils, soaps, milk powder, refined sugar, plants and parts of plants for perfume or pharmaceutical purposes, gum-resins, vegetable saps and extracts, certain chemicals, motor vehicles and parts, arms and ammunition, and certain toys, such as water pistols and gaming machines. The Trade Board, the Veterinary Services Division, and the Plant Quarantine Division, all of which fall under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health or Wellness, are responsible for granting these licenses and permits. Licences and permits must be obtained prior to the item arriving in Jamaica.

Other taxes and fees:

In addition to normal customs duties, there are other taxes and fees that are applicable to the importation process. These taxes were implemented in order to streamline the system and to replaced various other duties and taxes, and are listed in the table below. 

Duties, taxes and fees collected by the JCA:

  • The import duty rate in most cases is 20 percent and is payable on most imported items.
  • The rate of import duty varies depending on the commodity being imported.
  • The rates for each commodity can be found in the common external tariff.

Below is a list of the different duties, taxes and fees. However, not all of them may be applicable to all items imported:

Property taxes

Property tax is a charge levied on all land and property. It is payable by any person in possession of the property at the date the property tax becomes due, regardless of whether or not that person is the registered proprietor of the land.  In addition, all types of land and properties, whether residential or commercial are subject to taxes.  

For tax purposes, all land is valued on the "unimproved value" (as reflected on the 2013 Property Valuation Roll). The “unimproved value” sometimes called “land value” or “site value”, is the price you would expect to receive if you were only selling the land without improvements, such as buildings or crops - it is the value of the “vacant” land.  

Below is a table of the current applicable property tax rates in Jamaica.

Property tax rate schedule (as at April 1, 2017)

JMD$ Property Value Band JMD$ or Rate (%)
For the first $400,000.00 $1000
For the next $400,000.00 0.80%
For the next $700,000.00 0.85%
For the next $1,500,000.00 0.90%
For the next $1,500,000.00 1.05%
For the next $2,500,000.00 1.10%
For the next $5,000,000.00 1.15%
For the next $18,000,000.00 1.25%
For every dollar thereafter 1.30%

Other taxes

Transfer tax:

This is assessed and paid on the consideration payable on the transfer of land, buildings, securities, and shares or the transfer of property and estates on death. In the case of the transfer of land, the tax is paid by the seller on the market or appraised value. Transactions on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) are exempt from transfer tax, as are transfers of registered corporate bonds, whether or not the company is listed on the JSE.

Where a person is domiciled in Jamaica at the date of their death, the assets are deemed to be transferred at market value at the date of death. In respect of the transfer of property on death, no transfer tax (estate tax) is paid on the first JMD$10 million. However, values exceeding JMD$10 million are taxed at the rate of 1.5 percent of the value of the estate, after deductions and expenses.

In applying to transfer land or shares or to have documents stamped, a properly completed "stamping requisition form" and taxpayer registration number (TRN) for the applicant and all parties to the transaction, should also be submitted. Any additional documents needed will depend on the nature of the transaction.

Stamp duty:

This is imposed on a wide variety of legal instruments. Documents are stamped as proof of the payment of both the stamp duty and transfer taxes, and this makes them legal and binding under the law. In Jamaica, unstamped or insufficiently stamped documents are not admissible in a court of law except in criminal cases. Applicable rates are below.

Documents falling under the heading of “Mortgage” (for example: mortgage - land, debenture, bills of sale, assignments and hypothecation) will continue to attract a surcharge of 25 percent of the tax imposed depending on the value of the consideration therein. Most legal documents must be stamped within a specified timeframe after execution, or face penalties. 

Asset tax

Asset tax is imposed on "companies" within the meaning of the Companies Act, with certain exceptions, such as, a society registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act and other prescribed persons. In accordance with the rules of the Assets Tax (Specified Bodies) Act, taxpayers are classified into two categories: 

  • Specified regulated entities: deposit-taking entities regulated by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) and securities dealers and insurance companies regulated by the Financial Services Commission(FSC); and
  • Unregulated entities - mainly non-financial institutions.  

It has been proposed that asset tax imposed on unregulated entities (that is, non-financial institutions) be abolished pending proposed legislative change. As assets tax is paid for a current year and with an effective implementation date for year of assessment 2019 - no payment was due this March 15, 2019. In anticipation of the provisional order, the requirement for filing has therefore been suspended.

However, specified regulated entities will continue to be liable for asset tax at the ad valorem rate of 0.25 percent of the value of their "taxable assets". The taxable value of assets is broadly determined as the value of assets on the balance sheet with adjustments for certain items specific to each type of institution. In addition, there are separate annual payment and filing requirements for asset taxes, and additionally, no relief is granted as there is a specific prohibition on claiming an income tax deduction for asset tax incurred.  Regulated entities must file their asset tax declarations annually online, via the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) tax portal on or before March 15th of the year of assessment.  

Find out more...

Relevant documents The Assets Tax Act

Contractors’ levy

A Contractor's Levy is applied to the gross contract amount payable to any contractor or sub-contractor within the construction industry, by way of a 2 percent deduction from each payment.  This amount is then paid over to the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), accompanied by the requisite form. Payments to contractors/sub-contractors in respect of construction works, haulage, and tillage operations are all liable to a withholding of this levy. 

The levy must be withheld at the source by the client and paid over to the TAJ within 14 days after the end of the month which the levy is deducted. Proof of the value of the contract must also be provided. The levy paid is allowable as a credit against the income tax liability of the contractor in the year of assessment in which the levy is deducted. However, to the extent that there is any excess, it is not refundable.

Find out more...

Relevant documents Contractor's Levy Act

Double taxation agreements

Over the years, Jamaica has entered into several double taxation agreements (DTAs) with partner countries. 

Bilateral agreements

United Kingdom           
United States

Multilateral agreements:

Two multilateral taxation agreements are relevant to Jamaica

  • CARICOM Treaty: Under this tax treaty, all self-employed and wage earning CARICOM nationals are protected. The treaty has so far been enacted in ten CARICOM member states. The uniqueness of this treaty is that it reserves final taxation of non-resident investment income and business income to the source CARICOM country, and precludes taxation in the recipient’s CARICOM country of residence or nationality.
  • Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI): This treaty seeks to implement a series of tax treaty measures to update international tax rules and lessen the opportunity for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.  As was required, upon signature, the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) filed Jamaica’s list of notifications and reservations in relation to the MLI. 

Other agreements

Further to the DTAs above, Jamaica is also currently party to Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs):

Republic of Finland
Republic of South Africa

To facilitate exchange of information on a global level, Jamaica has also signed on to the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance (MAAC) which entered into force in March 2019.  

In addition, it has also entered into an agreement with the US Government to improve international tax compliance and to implement the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The Income Tax Act has therefore been amended to incorporate the measures that are required by FATCA.

What investors think

Few challenges have been reported as they relate to registering and paying taxes, as it was felt that important steps have been achieved through the provision of the TAJ's online options. Concerns seem to be centred on the size of the tax burden carried by businesses. 

Legal framework

Based on English common law, Jamaica’s judicial system upholds the sanctity of contracts and an investor's right to due and equal process is protected under the law, and facilitated in both civil and criminal courts. This includes the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the UK Privy Council in England, which remains the ultimate court of appeal for Jamaicans and all businesses within the island's jurisdiction.

Investment protection

The Constitution provides for the protection of property. Compulsory purchase may only occur in the public interest, with due compensation promptly and adequately paid. This is bolstered by a network of bilateral investment treaties (see below).

There are no legal impediments to foreign direct investment (FDI), with the exception of a few regulated sectors, and the principle of national treatment is generally applied, subject to any specific legislation restricting this. In addition the the legislation already included on the various pages of this iGuides site, below is a list of some additional laws that are considered relevant to investment and investors. 

Dispute settlement

Arbitration of investment disputes between enterprises is generally dealt with in local courts. Jamaica is also a member of the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States administered by the World Bank (WB). The Convention requires inter alia, that parties to international business transactions must act in accordance with good faith and fair dealing in international trade. This standard applies to the negotiation, formation, performance and interpretation of international contracts. Arbitration of investment disputes falling within the purview of this Convention may be referred to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).  

The ICSID is designed to promote the settlement of disputes between states and private foreign investors, and while it is not an international court or tribunal, it provides an institutional framework that facilitates conciliation and arbitration.  The actual settlement of disputes takes place mainly through arbitral tribunals that are constituted on an ad hoc basis as required. 

Also, as a signatory to the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention), this enables enforcement of awards by the Jamaica International Arbitration Centre Limited (JAIAC) in some one hundred and fifty-seven (157) countries. The JAIAC's arbitration rules cover all aspects of the arbitral process, and offers a comprehensive procedural process upon which investors may agree for the conduct of arbitral proceedings arising out of their commercial/business relationships in Jamaica. 

International investment agreements

Jamaica has signed various bilateral investment treaties (BITs), to allow a company from a partner country to more easily set up a business in the country. They generally extend a raft of benefits to investors; but more specifically, when setting up a business in Jamaica, they will allow the company to:

  • Benefit from the same protection as any Jamaica business under the "National Treatment" Law.
  • Be exempt from any act of expropriation by the government of the host country.
  • Repatriate profits generated in the host country.
  • Be absolutely secure in business operations – once conducted within the boundaries of the Jamaican laws.
  • Be confident in having an opportunity to explore dispute settlement through local tribunal/ arbitrators.

Jamaica currently has enforceable BITs as listed below.

Repatriation of funds

Foreign investors may repatriate their profits to their homeland and are accorded "national treatment" in Jamaica. 

This follows the repeal of the Foreign Exchange Control Act, the removal of exchange controls and currency floatation in 1991. While the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) still regulates activities in the foreign exchange market, foreign currency can be easily accessed through a network of banks, other financial institutions and authorised foreign exchange dealers at market-determined rates. In addition, the banking and financial systems have also been strengthened over time to avert risks. 

Find out more...

Relevant documents
Relevant institutions Bank of Jamaica (BOJ)

Intellectual property

Jamaica is a signatory to the major international copyright and related rights treaties and agreements administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).  The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) was established to deal with intellectual property issues, and the country is also in the process of accession to the Madrid Protocol, which will allow for single and centralised filing of trademark and service marks.

If a person's IP rights have been infringed, they may seek legal recourse by filing a law suit in the civil court or they may refer the matter to mediation or arbitration at the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF). If the work has been pirated, that is, where copies are reproduced without permission on a commercial scale, the matter should be reported to the Organised Crime Investigation Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

To apply for the protection of your IP rights, investors may either visit or contact JIPO for more information about the process and the relevant application forms.

International agreements

Jamaica is a member of a number of international intellectual property agreements, listed below. It is also a signatory to the Jamaica/USA Bilateral Agreement on the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights.

Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (1967)

Link to WIPO website

Find out more...

Relevant documents WIPO Convention
Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886) establishes minimum standards regarding the national protection of copyrights in signatory countries, and guarantees the application in these countries of the national copyright law to artistic works originating from another signatory country.

Find out more...

Relevant documents WIPO Berne Convention

Brussels Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite (1974)

Link to WIPO website

Find out more...

Relevant documents WIPO Brussels Convention

Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol (1981)

Link to WIPO website

Find out more...

Relevant documents WIPO Nairobi Treaty

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) establishes industrial property protection rules regarding patents, marks, industrial designs, trade names, geographical indications and the repression of unfair competition. Its provisions include regulations regarding the national treatment, the right of priority and a number of common rules.

Link to WIPO website

Find out more...

Relevant documents WIPO Paris Convention

Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (1961)

Link to WIPO website

Find out more...

Relevant documents WIPO Rome Convention
Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (1957)

Find out more...

Relevant documents WIPO Nice Agreement
Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks (1973)

Find out more...

Relevant documents WIPO Vienna Agreement

The WIPO Copyright Treaty (1996) extends the copyright protection granted by previous treaties, in particular the Berne Convention, to new information technologies, including computer programmes and databases.

Link to WIPO website

Find out more...

Relevant documents WIPO Copyright Treaty
The Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms (1971) protects producers of phonograms (sound recordings) originating from signatory countries against unauthorized duplication, as well as against importation and distribution of duplicates of their works.

Find out more...

Relevant documents WIPO Phonograms Convention
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (1989)

Find out more...

Relevant documents WIPO Madrid Protocol

Established under the World Trade Organization, the TRIPS Agreement plays a critical role in facilitating trade in knowledge and creativity, in resolving trade disputes over intellectual property, and in assuring WTO members the latitude to achieve their domestic objectives. The Agreement is legal recognition of the significance of links between intellectual property and trade.

Competition law

The Fair Competition Act, 1993 seeks to ensure that competition and fair business practices are observed. The Act established the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) which seeks to promote beneficial market behaviour among firms by defining competition rules and standards. The aim is not to regulate the size of firms, but rather to prevent anti-competitive practices.  The objectives of the Act are to:

  • Encourage competition in the conduct of trade and business in Jamaica.
  • Ensure that all legitimate business enterprises have an equal opportunity to participate in the Jamaican economy.
  • Provide consumers with better products and services, a wide range of choices at the best possible prices.

To achieve these objectives, the FCA contains two broad categories of prohibitions – those dealing with anti-competitive behaviour and those dealing with consumer protection. With regard to anti-competitive behaviour, the Act prohibits agreements that substantially lessen competition and the abuse of a dominant position. Specific anti-competitive practices that are prohibited under the Act are resale price maintenance, tied selling, price fixing, collusion and cartels and bid rigging.

In relation to consumer protection, the the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) was established under the Consumer Protection Act, 2005 and provides for the promotion and protection of consumer interest, in relation to the supply of goods and the provision of services in order to ensure the protection of life, health and safety of consumers and the wider society.

Jamaica is also a signatory to the CARICOM Competition Policy, which has as its objective to promote and maintain competition and enhance economic efficiency in production, trade and commerce. To ensure that actions by enterprises do not reduce the benefits to be derived from the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the policy prohibits anti-competitive business conduct which prevents, restricts or distorts competition. This policy also promotes and protects consumer welfare.

The CARICOM Competition Commission (CCC) was established with responsibility for applying the rules of competition to cross border anti-competitive business conduct and/or conduct that has cross border effect in the single market. The Commission  also promotes and protects competition within the Community and is mandated to monitor, investigate, detect, make determinations and take any appropriate action to inhibit and penalise enterprises or businesses, which conduct prejudice trade or prevents, restricts or distorts competition within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). 

What investors think

Jamaica's legislative framework is seen as transparent. 

Its courts are seen as fair albeit slow. No concerns were raised with regards to protection of investments.

Economy and production

The Jamaican economy expanded in the quarter to June 2019, driven mainly by increases in the hotels and restaurants sector, and in mining and quarrying. Growth was also attributed to increased domestic demand, enabled by higher levels of employment which enabled growth in industries such as the wholesale/retail trade, repair/installation of machinery, finance and insurance services, as well as manufacturing.  Finance, tourism, and other services are huge components of the island’s economy, providing a significant portion of both gross domestic product and employment.  The country also derives most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina.

The 2018/19 fiscal year (FY), represented a watershed year for Jamaica as all the key performance targets were met and several best performances were achieved and real GDP is estimated to have grown by a total of 1.9 percent.  This performance during 2018/19 also represented the sixth consecutive year of economic growth. The country’s debt-to-GDP ratio is on a downward trajectory, having ended the 2018/19 year at 94.4 percent; and representing a significant movement towards meeting the FY 2025/26 target for public debt of 60.0 percent, or less, of GDP.  

The priorities throughout the medium term, remains focused on sustaining economic stability, promoting economic growth, and stimulating employment. These policy outcomes are consistent with the objectives of Jamaica's National Development Plan, "Vision 2030 Jamaica", and includes facilitating the continued creation of durable jobs through expansion in priority investment sectors. 

Market access

Jamaica has been a member of the WTO and a party to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and under the WTO/GATT, the country’s exports has access to the markets of the 160 Members of the WTO through "Most Favoured Nation" (MFN) treatment. 

The country has also negotiated and entered into several trade agreements with various countries, and these regional and international agreements are administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and facilitate the movement of goods, people and capital across global borders and as a result.  Therefore, investors with operations in Jamaica are able to access major markets on similar or better terms than from their own borders.   

As a member, Jamaica also benefits from agreements CARICOM has signed with five Latin American countries: Colombia, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Cuba. It is also has access to  the European Union; preferential access to the United States of America (USA) and Canada; and qualifies for generalised system of preferences treatment from a number of other countries. 

These major trade agreements provide a range of opportunities to investors seeking to establish operations in the island in order to export from Jamaica to these trading partners. To access these privileges, goods from Jamaica destined for the free-trade areas are required to meet the relevant standards and regulations governing ingredients, labelling and packaging, as stipulated by the importing country. See listing below for more information.

Overseen by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas in 1973, it allows all goods originating from within CARICOM countries (except the Bahamas) to be traded without restrictions. Most member states also apply a common external tariff (CET) on goods originating from non-CARICOM countries. Investors operating in one CARICOM country are given preferential access to the entire CARICOM market. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishes the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), permitting the free movement of goods, capital and labour within CARICOM States. More information at:

Find out more...

Relevant documents CARICOM Treaty CARICOM Single Market

Signed in 2008 between CARIFORUM's 15 states and the European Union's 27 states, it allows products from CARIFORUM economies 100 percent immediate duty- and quota-free access to the EU. EU access to CARIFORUM markets will however be phased in over 25 years, with protection for 17 percent of CARIFORUM goods and services. The agreement also covers competition, innovation and intellectual property, public procurement, and environmental and labour standards. More information:

Find out more...

Relevant documents CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement

The Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement provides goods originating from the Commonwealth-Caribbean with duty-free access to the Canadian market. Certain goods, such as textiles and apparel, footwear, luggage and handbags are excluded. There are plans to replace this agreement with a reciprocal free trade agreement. More information at:

The CBI provides for the United States to reduce tariffs on imports from CBI beneficiary countries if a) they are imported directly from a CBI beneficiary country into the U.S. customs territory; b) they are wholly the growth, product or manufacture of a CBI beneficiary country or are substantially transformed into a new or different article in the CBI beneficiary country; and c) contain a minimum of 35 percent local content of one or more CBI beneficiary countries (15 percent of the minimum content may be from the United States). More information:

Find out more...

Relevant documents Trade and Investment Framework Agreement

The Convention Establishing the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) was signed on 24 July 1994 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, with the aim of promoting consultation, cooperation and concerted action among all the countries of the Caribbean, comprising 25 Member States and three Associate Members. Eight other non-independent Caribbean countries are eligible for associate membership

The objectives of the ACS are enshrined in the Convention and are based on the following: the strengthening of the regional co-operation and integration process, with a view to creating an enhanced economic space in the region; preserving the environmental integrity of the Caribbean Sea which is regarded as the common patrimony of the peoples of the region; and promoting the sustainable development of the Greater Caribbean.


On October 16, 2019,  the World Trade Organisation’s General Council approved the extension of the waiver of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), which allows for continued duty-free access to the United States market for eligible CARICOM products, up to September 30, 2025.

Exporters' pre-shipment requirements

There are several pre-shipment requirements which include exporter registration and obtaining regulatory permissions such as export permits and a certificate of origin, prior to finalising arrangements for shipment.  Registration is required only for individuals or entities exporting goods on a commercial basis or for the purpose of trade which will result in the generation of revenue.  

Investors wishing to export from Jamaica will be required to obtain the following:

  • Exporter registration letter/certificate from JAMPRO.  Investors should visit JAMPRO or register at
  • Certificate of origin; CARICOM certificate, CBI Form, EUR 1 Form, GSP Form (A) (as applicable) from Trade Board Limited
  • Export licenses and/or permits from the following (where applicable):
    • Trade Board: ammunition ( firearms/explosives), gold bullion/fully or semi-manufactured gold including jewellery, jewellery (excluding those from earth metals), plasma, sugar, wood - lignum vitae and logwood only, motor vehicles. 
    • Veterinary Division: animals and animal products.
    • Plant Quarantine Division: plants and plant products including spice and pimento greater than 2 lbs.
    • Mines & Geology Unit: rocks, stones, soil, alumina, cement.
    • Jamaica Agricultural commodities Regulation Authority (JACRA): permits for green coffee beans, roasted coffee over 10 lbs/5 kgs; commercial coconut products (with the intention of generating revenue) including samples.
    • National Environmental and Planning Agency: Export Permit for coral.
  • Certificate for processed food (such as ackee) from Bureau of Standards 

For more information on what is required to export/import, see below and visit the Jamaica Trade Information Portal.


In 2018, the Jamaican tourism sector was one of the largest economic sectors, providing over 9% of the total employment in the country, attracting over 4.0 million visitors, generating over USD$3.3 billion in foreign exchange earnings, and directly contributing approximately 6.0 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).  

Tourist accommodations in Jamaica amounted to approximately 32,000 rooms comprising of hotels, villas, guesthouses, apartments and others and one of the strategic objectives of the Ministry of Tourism is to increase the room stock by 15,000 rooms by 2022.  

As Jamaica continues to develop as a tourist destination, every effort is being made to build a sustainable and inclusive sector that benefits all of the nation’s citizens.  This will be done by highlighting the country's unique and diverse culture and heritage, and providing a growing focus on sustainability and resilience that encourages environmental protection and the efficient use of our natural resources. 

Current situation:

Originally known for its natural beauty and as a playground for the rich and famous, the island's tourism industry has experienced growth and diversification through the years. Today, Jamaica has one of the most diverse visitor accommodation sectors in the Caribbean, and the sector also includes attractions, wellness and other tourism facilities. 

Accommodation options exist from large-scale world-famous all-inclusive resorts, upscale hotels and villas, to a wide range of other smaller distinctive tourist types.  Attractions are also a big part of the tourism landscape including facilities for swimming with dolphins, water sports, theme parks, nature and eco-tourism and adventure tourism, all of which make the tourism product more marketable.  Also, every year, the country hosts annual events such as Reggae Sumfest, Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, Reggae Marathon and the Caribbean's two premier fashion shows - Caribbean Fashion Week and Style Week Jamaica - that attracts tourists and adds to the variety of activities to participate in during their stay.  

The health and wellness sector is known for its medicinal and healing potential contained in facilities such as the Milk River Mineral Bath and the Bath Fountain Hotel and Spa. Additionally, Jamaican spas are also known for using natural and beneficial products to produce different oils, soaps and butters for wellness and cosmetic purposes.  A Community Tourism Policy has been developed to integrate culture and heritage into tourism and this has enabled small tourism enterprises to engage with tourists; using their skills to enhance the tourism product; and allowing more Jamaicans to reap some of the economic and social benefits of the sector. 

Why invest in tourism?

Demand drivers

The key factors which combine to make Jamaica an ideal location for business interests looking to invest in tourism are:

  • Global Brand Appeal: The breathtakingly beautiful scenery, world class accommodations, rich culture, excellent sporting tradition and signature warm hospitality of the people combine to make Jamaica an alluring slice of paradise that holds an irresistible appeal for travellers from around the world.
  • Strong Connectivity: Three international airports facilitate easy airlift and gateway access to major markets. With over 73 airlines flying directly to Jamaica from important gateways such as London, New York, Toronto, Brussels and Madrid, and new routes constantly been being developed, Jamaica stands as the most connected gateway in the region.
  • Diverse attractions: In addition to providing the traditional offerings of sun, sand and sea, Jamaica also has a wealth of attractions that showcase the island’s distinct culture, history and natural resources. Some of these attractions deliver the ultimate adrenaline rush for visitors who enjoy the more adventurous side of life. From tubing down rivers and walking through trails to zip-lining through mountains and swimming with dolphins, Jamaica provides tourists with many exciting reasons to visit Jamaica.
  • Vibrant calendar of events: Jamaica stages several internationally acclaimed musical, entertainment and sporting events, and these events attract a significant number of visitors to the island annually, driving the demand for rooms year round.
  • Location and proximity: Jamaica’s location and proximity to the North America and Latin American markets allows visitors from these regions easy access to Jamaica as well as provide gateways for other visitors from all over the world. Also because of the location, Jamaica has been able to forge and strengthen relationships through our bi-lateral and multi-lateral arrangements which also allows for ease of travel due to the removal of barriers to entry.
  • Qualified, Cost-competitive Labour Force: Jamaica has an impressive labour pool engaged in all aspects of the tourism sector. These include wellness practitioners and medical professionals, who possess the competencies and experience for the development of a vibrant medical tourism sector. 


As Jamaica’s tourism industry continues to enjoy growth in the traditional segments of leisure and attractions, opportunities have emerged from new segments such as health and wellness and nature tourism. Investors are welcome to explore opportunities in the following areas:

  • Boutique hotels
  • Large-scale hotels
  • Entertainment and sports tourism
  • Eco-tourism attractions and resorts
  • City hotels
  • Medical tourism
  • Wellness tourism
  • Casino gaming regulations
  • Timeshare legislation

For more information about the tourism sector and the opportunities available, visit or contact JAMPRO.

Mining and quarrying

The modern era of Jamaica's mining sector began with the discovery of high grade bauxite in 1938.  After the first shipment of bauxite from Jamaica in 1952, production increased rapidly, and by 1957 Jamaica had become the leading bauxite producer in the world, with a production capacity of nearly 5.0 million tonnes of bauxite per year - almost a quarter of all the bauxite mined in the world that year.  

Despite being endowed, with a more diverse range of minerals than many of the islands in the Caribbean, the local mining and quarrying sector is mainly driven by bauxite and alumina, which generate the most revenue for the sector.  Over the years, the sector has diversified, with the emergence of limestone and other minerals including: mineral fuels, gypsum, marble, gold, clay, salt, sand and gravel, marl and silica sand.  With over 50.0 billion tonnes of proven reserves, limestone is by far Jamaica’s most abundant mineral and the island is looking to increase its market share in this multi-billion dollar global industry.  

The country's mining sector is therefore well-established and looking to increase its revenue earnings from key opportunities in areas such as the production of limestone and its high-value derivatives. 

Current situation:

The Ministry of Transport and Mining is developing an enabling environment for both local and foreign investors to capitalise on sustainable and responsible minerals investments, while the Mines and Geology Division has the responsibility to exercise general supervision over all prospecting, mining and quarrying operations throughout Jamaica.

The sector is served by an experienced and highly competent cadre of professionals with expertise in construction, mapping, surveying, aerial photography and engineering, among other disciplines. Equipment such as tractors, excavators, trucks, safety gear and cranes are readily available for hire locally, and as a part of their facilitation services, JAMPRO can connect investors with suitable companies.

Why invest in mining and quarrying?

Demand drivers

Jamaica has a number of positive factors that improves its prospects for supporting key investment in these sectors including: 

  • Rich mineral endowments: Jamaica has ample mineral resources such as limestone, bauxite, clay, shale and hard volcanic rocks for skid resistant aggregate.
  • High quality limestone: High quality deposits of limestone and the potential for limestone mining, quarrying and the export of high-standard raw limestone and value-added products.
  • Convenient and cost-effective extraction: Mineral deposits lie close to the surface, which makes for safe, cost-effective and efficient extraction.
  • Strong track record: Long history of mining and major industry players have made substantial investments in the country’s mining sector in the past 50 years, which has also facilitated the build-out of supporting infrastructure for the mining and production of bauxite/alumina.
  • Proximity to major markets: Jamaica is close to lucrative international markets such as North America and Brazil.


With significant limestone reserves that can be easily and cost effectively mined; a variety of limestone that includes the soft/powdery and hard/crystalline varieties that form marble, dolomite, aggregates and marl - opportunities exist for investment in the upgrade of facilities to produce limestone value added products and in the production of its by-products. 

  • Limestone Value-added Production:  To produce, high purity grade product, which has numerous applications for food processing, manufacturing and the development of pharmaceutical and industrial commodities.
  • Marble:  Production of marble for the dimension stone industry to be used for luxury and high-end applications.  The potential also exists for the discovery of additional deposits across the island.

For more information about the mining and quarrying sector and the opportunities available, visit or contact JAMPRO.


In Jamaica, the manufacturing sector is divided into two main categories - traditional and non-traditional. Traditional manufactured goods include food, beverages and tobacco, while non-traditional goods include non-metallic products, chemicals and petroleum products. Many of Jamaica’s manufactured brands are well recognised internationally and have become synonymous with excellence.

The sector has been a key component of and contributor to the national economy, accounting for 8.5 percent of GDP in 2018; and the main drivers of this improvement was the higher production of petroleum products and non-metallic minerals, as well as, increased food processing. 

Being located in proximity to key air and sea routes in the northern Caribbean, the country has placed its focus on export-oriented, high value niche manufacturing and assembly operations, in an effort to obtain a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace. With the Jamaica's logistics hub initiative, the government seeks to position the island as the next major global transshipment and logistics hub, in order to provide opportunities for local and international business interests to be integrated into the global supply chain.

Current situation:

The government has been committed to supporting the sector through its various initiatives, including policies and activities related to rectifying bureaucratic inefficiencies, industrial development, export promotion, and targeted interventions that promote business opportunities and support the development of the productive sector.  Supported by improvements in the business environment and driven by advancements in production equipment and greater demand and growth in financing options, a higher real value added is expected for the manufacturing sector in 2019.


Why invest in manufacturing?

Demand drivers

As a destination for manufacturing, the country offers the following advantages for investors:

  • Strategic location and market access: Proximity to the United States, Latin American and Caribbean markets provides convenient air and maritime access in moving goods and services to these markets.
  • Infrastructure: The Port of Kingston's expansion to accommodate large post-Panamax vessels; the island's developed road network; 3 international airports and modern transportation systems; and available commercial space in proximity to major ports in both Kingston and Montego Bay.
  • Skilled and available labour pool: It's english-speaking workforce supported by a wide mix of public and private sector training institutions.
  • Supportive business climate: Available fiscal incentives and access to key markets through strategic bilateral trade agreements. Local industry is also well supported by public and private sector stakeholders. 


There has been an emerging presence of electronics assembly and fabrication enterprises in Jamaica’s manufacturing sector and the country provides a strong platform for companies seeking opportunities in this sector. 

  • agro-processing
  • medical devices
  • non-equity modes (NEMs)
  • chemicals sector
  • pharmaceuticals
  • cannabis
  • electronics
  • assembly/fabrication

For more information about the manufacturing sector and the opportunities available, visit or contact JAMPRO.

Find out more...

Relevant documents JAMPRO Sector Profiles 2018
Relevant institutions JAMPRO Trade and Investment Jamaica


Over the years, the country's agriculture industry has grown from producing mainly sugar, to include more than two dozen crops for both domestic consumption and export. There is also thriving animal husbandry and fish farming activities across the island and these primary services contribute to the country’s diversified value-added food manufacturing industry. With roughly 41 percent of the total land area or 440,000 hectares of agricultural land, there are opportunities for investors in Jamaica’s agriculture sector to serve both the domestic, as well as, export markets (World Bank).

The island is known for high-quality crops such as its blue mountain coffee, cocoa, pimento and ginger, and the demand for Jamaican food items continues to grow in overseas markets, even as local consumers and businesses increase consumption.  Its varied elevation ranges, climatic changes and geographic landscapes, allows for the potential for the production of a wider variety of crops. However, investment is needed in climate resistant agricultural practices that can allow the industry to produce at a greater potential. 

The total contribution of agriculture to the Jamaican economy extends beyond raw materials and commodities and into the manufacturing of goods. Earnings from exports of traditional commodities were valued at USD$18.6 million in 2018, while combined, agricultural products and processed foods contributed USD$325.8 million or 17.9 percent of total domestic export earnings. 

Current situation:

To boost local production, the government, through the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries has implemented an extensive agro park project, which plans to convert 20,000 acres of under-utilised land into agricultural production. To date, the Agro-Investment Corporation manages over 4,000 acres across four agro parks, and among the crops being cultivated in these agro-parks are onion, pepper, assorted fruits and vegetables, yam and ginger. The programme is targeted at “large investors with supply chain and logistics experience to use the agro-park as a base to buy, sort, grade and transport produce to the specification of individual buyers, including hotels".

Demand for niche products allow small islands like Jamaica to produce high quality and unique products, which are recognisable and traceable to the island. Jamaican Jerk and Blue Mountain coffee are two protected geographic indicators, placing them in a unique category among other products in the global market. 

Private investment in the industry is ongoing as businesses improve the linkages between producers and manufacturers, through contract farming arrangements.   These arrangements have spurred significant investment and utilisation of land with over 200 acres in cassava production for use in beer production.

The sector is supported by an enabling environment including well-trained personnel and the potential for diversification, niche marketing and value-added products. The Government is seeking to grow the sector through strong public-private partnerships that are research-oriented, market-driven and export-led. 

Why invest in agribusiness?

Demand drivers

Factors that enhance Jamaica's appeal for investment in the agribusiness sector include:

  • Strategic Location: Proximity to key markets such as the United States, Canada, Central and South America.
  • Ideal climatic conditions: Jamaica's elevation ranges from sea level to over 7,000 ft. resulting in  a variety of "mini-climates", and the potential to produce of a variety of crops, from tropical fruits to strawberries and coffee. 
  • Available land for farming: With large tracts of arable land in the country, there are tremendous opportunities for investors to serve domestic and export to markets worldwide.
  • Home to premium crops and unique flavour profilesPremium crops such as the blue mountain coffee, fine/flavour cocoa, high quality pimento and ginger are already well known and highly rated.
  • Preferential market access: Jamaica's exports benefit from preferential market access under a number of trade arrangements.
  • Internal Market: A large domestic market and consistent tourist trade that require a steady supply of produce.
  • External Market: Global demand for high quality Jamaican produce, particularly in the diaspora and ethnic markets. Jamaica also has an untapped market potential through its membership in CARICOM.


Opportunities in agriculture/agribusiness include:

  • Contract farming: joint venture opportunities with manufacturers both local and overseas to produce crops all year round.
  • Expansion of fruit tree production: for agro-processing and fresh fruit market; specifically, ackee and citrus.
  • Value-added and niche market opportunities: for an increasing range of products (functional foods, nutraceuticals, ingredients, seasonings, condiments, spices and other authentic Jamaican food and beverages).
  • Aquaculture: expansion of shrimp and fresh water fish to meet the demand of the local market.
  • Cannabis: with the introduction of legislation to regulate the local cannabis industry, opportunities are available for medicinal products derived from cannabis.
  • Oilseeds: Castor beans can be processed for use in the biofuel, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

For more information about the agribusiness sector and the opportunities available, visit or contact JAMPRO.

Find out more...

Relevant documents JAMPRO Sector Profiles 2018
Relevant institutions JAMPRO Trade and Investment Jamaica


The government’s commitment to fulfilling the country’s energy resource potential is being advanced by, Vision 2030 – Jamaica’s National Development Plan, the National Energy Policy and the National Renewable Energy Policy. The primary objective is to diversify the national energy supply into a mix of energy sources that includes any combination of petroleum coke, coal, natural gas and renewables. In the area of renewables, sources such as solar photovoltaic, wind, hydro, biofuels/biomass and waste to energy solutions are all being explored.  The National Renewable Energy Policy outlines a progressive timeline for the diversification of the energy supply, which will see the percentage of renewables in the energy mix increasing from 12.1 percent in 2018 to 20 percent by 2030.

Guided by a blueprint of modernisation, efficiency and sustainability, Jamaica has been promoting the energy sector as an attractive area for investment. Electricity generation has grown from a few entities to over ten public and private producers through the national grid operator, Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), and the sources of power range from petroleum products to alternative energy sources including hydropower, wind, solar and bagasse.

Current situation:

A comprehensive program of efficiency improvement and energy diversification is being driven by government, for Jamaica to provide affordable, environmentally-friendly energy and to reduce the country’s dependence on high-cost imported oil.   With the national energy policy as a roadmap, the relevant strategies and actions are being managed by the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, and some of the priority focus areas include:

  • Security of energy supply through diversification of fuels.
  • Modernisation of the country’s energy infrastructure.
  • Development of renewable energy sources, including solar and hydro.
  • Conservation and efficiency in use of energy.
  • Eco-efficiency in industries.
Having liberalised its energy industry, Jamaica's open policy allows investors to source their own fuels for projects, and this has helped the mining and sugar industries which are heavy users of fuel oils. One fuel source attracting significant attention and investment is liquefied natural gas (LNG) which is now being used in plants locally to power the grid, supporting an estimated 120.0 megawatts or 11 percent of total capacity. Two new electricity plants are under construction to add 292.0 megawatts of power and using LNG as the source fuel. As Jamaica moves to increase its usage of LNG, prospects are also available for the country to operate as a hub in the region for distribution of the resource. 

Why invest in energy?

Demand drivers

As Jamaica seeks to diversify its national energy supply mix, investment in the sector is being driven by the following:

  • Abundance of renewable resources: Renewable resources, like wind, biomass, hydro and solar energy, place the country in an excellent position to minimise its dependence on imported fossil fuels and, transition into an independent energy producer.
  • Advanced development: The country is advanced in the development of renewable energy and encourages continuous research in technologies that have the potential to generate energy from all types of renewable sources.
  • Global fuel prices: With over 90 percent of energy sourced from imported fuel oils, Jamaica is vulnerable to fluctuations in global oil prices. This has increased the demand for alternative sources of energy to supply the national grid and distribute at lower costs to consumers.
  • Industry diversification: As the Jamaican economy grows, the demand for energy from the general consumer to heavy industries has increased. Electricity generation in the bauxite and alumina industry, hotels, shipping and manufacturing including SEZs, all require affordable energy. 


Driven by the need for efficiency improvements and energy diversification, Jamaica presents investors with many investment opportunities in the energy sector, which can be divided into the 3 categories below:

  • Electricity power Generation
    • Private Generation Projects: 
    • Electric Power Generation: Opportunities exist in generating electricity from renewable resources. 
  • Trading in Fuels
    • Fuel Sector: Opportunities exist in distribution of liquid petroleum gas (LNG), processing end of life motor oil, waste to biodiesel, ethanol production and processing of oil crops like castor to make biodiesel.
    • Exploration: Opportunity to explore the country’s potential for both oil and gas.
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation 
    • Energy Efficiency and Conservation: The immediate opportunity for energy efficiency include lighting, and air conditioning retrofits and application of retrofits for building envelopes (cool roof and solar films solutions). 

For more information about the energy sector and the opportunities available, visit or contact JAMPRO.

Find out more...

Relevant documents JAMPRO Sector Profiles 2018
Relevant institutions JAMPRO Trade and Investment Jamaica

Creative industries

Jamaica's diverse and rich culture is reflected in its reggae music, dance, theatre, art and craft, and cuisine, among other areas. The colourful customs and traditions, as well as, vibrant heritage, continue to exert influence on the world.  The island is birthplace and/or home to several well-known and talented musicians, fine and performing artists, and experienced film professionals, and the creativity of its people is one of its main assets.  This has been clearly demonstrated in areas such as film, animation, and music, which over the years have been promoting Jamaica's unique flair and innovative spirit to the world.

The government sees potential in the creative industries (film, animation and music) sector, for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. In 2018, other services industry accounted for 6.9 percent of GDP, with the creative sector being the main driver of growth, and through its seamless linkages with other industries such as tourism and manufacturing, has a significant multiplier effect on the Jamaican economy. 

While music has traditionally been Jamaica’s most exportable creative product, the film and animation sectors are at various stages of development, but have demonstrated notable economic potential.  

Current situation:

In an effort to develop and promote the film industry, the Jamaica Film Commission was established in 1984, and operates alongside the Creative Industries Unit within the JAMPRO. The commission facilitates activities that increase investment, export, and employment in the sector, while the unit is a key policy advocate and advisor to the government in matters pertaining to the improvement of Jamaica's business environment and the development of new industries within the sector.   

In Jamaica, an average of 150 film projects are shot in the country each year, ranging from feature films to video shoots which also serve to bring aspects of the country's heritage and culture to global audiences. The country has also been making strides in the animation field and in support of the industry, one of the island's main tertiary institutions, the University of Technology, introduced a four-year degree programme in the field. 

With a number of recording studios, many outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and operated by highly skilled personnel, music is produced at a fast pace in Jamaica, and has produced a cadre of well-trained and talented producers and sound engineers. 

Focused on strengthening the sector, the government has been supporting the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) and the implementation of the Voluntary Copyright Registration System (VCRS) to protect intellectual property rights.

Why invest in creative industries?

Demand drivers

The industry is primed for investment due to the factors listed below:

  • Rich culture: Jamaica's diverse and rich culture is reflected in its reggae music, dance, theatre, art and craft, and cuisine, among other areas. The colourful customs and traditions, and vibrant heritage exerts strong influence on the world.
  • World class talent: The island is home to a cadre of talented musicians, fine and performing artists, and experienced film professionals.
  • Beautiful and diverse locations: Jamaica's rustic countryside, majestic mountain ranges, white and black sand beaches, secret coves, dramatic cliffs, mini-jungles and historic edifices have made the country an ideal location for filming and creative projects since the early 1900s.
  • Strong business linkages: The film, animation and music industries enjoy economic linkages to other industries such as tourism and manufacturing.


Jamaica provides opportunities for investors in the creative industries. 

  • Film: Jamaica’s rich history, global brand recognition and achievements in sports and music present local and international film makers with a number of stories that are yet to be told, and a number of opportunities for investment in areas such as:
    • Production of local movies and documentaries.
    • Production equipment rental.
    • Development of film and animation studios.
    • Film distribution and marketing.
    • Sound stages.
  • Fashion: With Jamaica's creative designers, pattern-makers, seamstresses, finishers and manufacturers, the opportunity exists for a fashion house and skills training centre to teach technical skills and also impart the business side of fashion to aspiring fashion designers.
  • Music: Recording opportunities which can take advantage of the wealth of technical expertise that is available on the island to assist with all the stages of the process.  Strategic investment in the music industry, closely aligned with tourism development, has the potential to generate revenue from entertainment events.  
  • Sports: Construction of training facilities to position the island as an off-season training destination for international athletes.
For more information about the creative industries and the opportunities available, visit or contact JAMPRO.

Find out more...

Relevant documents JAMPRO Sector Profiles 2018
Relevant institutions JAMPRO Trade and Investment Jamaica

Knowledge services

The Government has targeted BPO/Knowledge services as a key part of its economic growth and job creation strategy,  Based on the estimates of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC), during the 2017/2018 fiscal year, the knowledge services sector accounted for: approximately 58 percent of the jobs created, from over 60 companies currently offering call centre and BPO services.  The sector directly employs over 26,000 agents; and generated revenue estimated at over USD$400 million annually. 

The sector is populated by a combination of captives (wholly owned subsidiaries) and third-party service providers that are primarily located in the urban areas of Montego Bay, Kingston, Portmore and Mandeville.

Jamaica’s competitiveness is enhanced by a relatively large, educated, and english-speaking population.  There is an established industry landscape supported by the government and private sector groups. This includes emerging technology parks, cost competitive labour, liberalised telecommunications sector and special economic zones incentives to support market entry. 

Current situation:

The country has advanced in the implementation of its five-year "National Strategy for the Development of Jamaica’s Outsourcing Industry".  This includes the formation of the IT-BPO task force and the appointment of a National BPO Coordinator.  The task force has responsibility for improving Jamaica’s readiness for BPO investments, and overseeing the implementation and updating of a BPO industry development work plan, while the coordinator is charged with introducing strategies to boost local and foreign investments in the sector.  

With the highest employment growth rate of any sector, over the last decade, the BPO sector has expanded with several new players and rapid expansion in some operations. It has become the number-one source of employment next to tourism in western Jamaica and the government is continuing its drive to increase the number of jobs in the industry to 50,000 in the near future.

The importance of the knowledge services sector is also underscored by the government’s efforts to enhance the value proposition of Jamaica as a location for ICT/BPO and other offshore services. Significant milestones in recent times include:

  • The introduction of cyber legislation in 2010.
  • The provision of a special Information and Communications Technology (ICT)/BPO loan facility in 2012 to finance the building of commercial facilities for new and existing BPO providers.
  • The revision and introduction of BPO-focused training at institutions such as the HEART Trust/National Training Agency (HEART) and various universities to create a BPO-ready labour pool.
  • The formation of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) in 2012, which serves as a focal point for addressing the development of the sector.

Why invest in knowledge services?

Demand drivers

Key features that make Jamaica an attractive investment destination in this sector include:

  • Proven track record: The country has the capacity to provide high quality service in the areas of customer care, finance and accounting, human resource outsourcing, receivables management, technical help desk support, outbound sales and lead generation.
  • Available talent: Jamaica’s large english-speaking, educated and talented workforce has a strong cultural affinity to major outsourcing markets such as North America and the United Kingdom.
  • Convenient access: Close proximity to the North American market and the convenience of being in time zones that are well aligned.
  • Cost effective: Companies are increasingly seeking cost-effective near shore outsourcing solutions, and call centre and BPO salaries in Jamaica are competitive.
  • Great infrastructure: State-of-the-art and robust telecoms infrastructure supports all the requirements for global connectivity. 


Within the IT-enabled services (ITES) portfolio, the government is committed to promoting investment in the outsourcing industry with a focus on business process outsourcing (BPO), knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), medical process outsourcing (MPO) and shared services. 

  • Voice-driven services: This represent a very attractive investment option based on the neutral accent of Jamaicans and the country’s cultural compatibility with the North American market.
  • Business process outsourcing (BPO): Jamaica provides the ideal platform for companies seeking to establish a BPO facility to support areas such as healthcare, finance and accounting, insurance and human resources.
  • Knowledge process outsourcing (KPO): Notable annual increases in graduates with professional degrees in law, medical sciences, computer science and engineering provide the perfect landscape to invest in this area.
  • Legal processing outsourcing (LPO): Home to the Norman Manley Law School at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica in an excellent position to attract outsourcing contracts in this area.
  • Software development, testing and maintenance: Jamaica’s increased graduate output from computing, infographics and engineering programmes set the stage for advanced software coding and development.

For more information about the knowledge services sector and the opportunities available, visit or contact JAMPRO.

Find out more...

Relevant documents JAMPRO Sector Profiles 2018
Relevant institutions JAMPRO Trade and Investment Jamaica

Logistics and infrastructure

Jamaica already has a vibrant shipping industry, and Kingston Harbour is the seventh largest natural harbour in the world.  The government has embarked on the Global Logistics Hub Initiative (GLHI) to capitalise on the trade and business opportunities that can emanate with the expansion of the Panama Canal. 

This logistics hub will be the fourth global logistics node, joining Singapore, Dubai and Rotterdam and seeks to establish the country as a significant player in the global shipping and logistics industry.

During the 2017/18 period, Jamaica's logistics sector benefited from two significant initiatives: i) the passing of the Special Economic Zone Act; and ii) the completion of the Logistics Hub Master Plan undertaken in collaboration with the World Bank and the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA), which will underpin the promotional efforts in the sector.

In keeping with the initiatives above, Jamaica will seek to offer greater logistic efficiencies to markets in the region by leveraging key existing infrastructure (the island's road network/airports/ports), the country’s prime location in proximity to major east-west shipping lanes and direct connections to all regional ports. The components of the logistics hub initiatives will therefore be inter-connected via multiple modalities - air, sea and land, thereby allowing for greater efficiencyThe hub initiatives incorporates several proposed and existing projects, some of which are prime for investment and are included in the "opportunities" section below.

Current situation:

Currently, the global logistics market is projected to grow to USD$12 trillion by 2025, driven by the output from the construction industry. Manufactured products for construction – stone, cement and ceramics – are expected to be the strongest growth products through to 2025. During the 2017/18 fiscal year, the logistics and infrastructure sectors collectively contributed USD$1.6 billion to the Jamaican economy, representing 11.5-12 percent of GDP. 

Jamaica has the key elements to provide a solid platform for a manufacturing and logistics operations for the region, and plans to transform from a key transhipment port to a regional logistics hub are in motion and includes:

  • Privatisation of the Kingston Port.
  • Land made available for development. 
  • Divestment of the Kingston Container Terminal to the French company CMA/CGM. 
  • Expansion of the Port of Kingston coupled with the dredging of the Kingston Harbour and the creation of new berths will facilitate larger vessels. 
  • Expansion of the local Kingston Wharves Limited into a modern logistics services provider.
  • Establishment of a dry dock facility for ship repairs by German Ship Repair Jamaica Limited. 
  • Divestment of the Norman Manley International Airport, which will increase air logistics capabilities. 


Why invest in logistics and infrastructure?

Demand drivers

The competitive advantages that make Jamaica ideally suited for this initiative include:

  • Strategic geographic location: Connectivity advantages given close proximity to - the newly improved Panama Canal; the main east-west shipping lanes; and air routes to the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean.
  • Strong supporting infrastructure: Well-developed telecommunications and transport infrastructure - first-rate highways, international airports and seaports with the capacity to move greater volumes of goods.
  • Connectivity: Strong air and sea connectivity and near shore advantage whereby being located within a 4 hour flight radius.
  • Large trainable workforce: The talent and resourcefulness of a large english-speaking workforce provides for a labour market that is educated, easily trainable and requires little or no language training. 
  • Training support infrastructure: Jamaica is home to the Caribbean Maritime Institute, which supports the country’s growing maritime industry, through training of human resources in logistics and supply chain management. Targeted training is also being provided in various areas related to the logistics hub initiative. 
  • Single trade electronic window: The launch of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) by the Jamaica Customs Agency, coupled with the creation of a Port Community System (PCS) by the Port Authority of Jamaica, has laid the groundwork for a fully integrated electronic trading system for Jamaica.


The logistics hub will provide several investment opportunities for global and domestic commercial and industry interests. These include:

  • Special economic zones: The SEZ regime is designed to benefit large development in manufacturing, distribution and movement of products either sea to sea, sea to air or air to air.  Like export free zones, SEZs can be countrywide and promote the clustering of requirements to facilitate efficiency and growth. 
  • Infrastructure development: The creation or upgrading of public and private infrastructure services will present opportunities for financing, partnerships and a range of professional services.
  • Manufacturing and distribution: The proposition of utilising Jamaica as a key destination for manufacturing for export and warehousing and distribution will present opportunities in distribution services, consolidation/de-consolidation, storage, order processing, product sub-assembly, packing and labelling.
  • Support services: With increased activity in manufacturing and distribution, there will be the need for a range of support services, some of which will be dependent on the clusters of commercial activity that become dominant in the various economic zones across the island. 

Some specific project opportunities include the following:

  • Port of Kingston Industrial Park: Development of port-centric logistics services on approximately 80 hectares of land conveniently located in proximity to Kingston Container Terminal. Providing a wide range of logistics activities for both the local and offshore markets, it will include special economic zone sites, adjoining under-utilised aerodrome, and unused terminal expansion lands. Together, these could be combined to develop and support on or near port logistics activities. 
  • Cow Bay, St. Thomas: Proposed deep water site for the development of a commodity port.
  • Jackson Bay, Clarendon: This location will be developed as a dry dock for ship repairs and maintenance.
  • Caymanas Economic Zone, St. Catherine: This is a three-pronged investment opportunity consisting of an economic/industrial zone, a technology park and a facility providing renewable energy to these ventures.
  • Vernamfield, Clarendon: Located on 2,900 acres of land, Vernamfield is envisioned as a cargo aerodrome, warehousing facility and industrial centre.
  • Jamaica Railway: The railway is an integral part of the hub as it will facilitate movement of cargo to and from the economic zones to key seaports and airports.

For more information about the logistics and infrastructure sector and the opportunities available, visit or contact JAMPRO.

Find out more...

Relevant documents JAMPRO Sector Profiles 2018
Relevant institutions JAMPRO Trade and Investment Jamaica

What investors think

In general investors felt that significant improvements have taken place in relation to "doing business" and there is potential for growth and investment in the key priority sectors. 

However, some issues related to bureaucracy (both public and private sectors), access to affordable financing, and the high costs of production still need to be addressed.

Why invest in Jamaica

  • A business-friendly environment – ranked 71 out of 190 countries in the World Bank's "Doing Business Report, 2020"
  • A diverse local private sector
  • A history of welcoming and facilitating large-scale foreign investment through JAMPRO
  • Well-developed infrastructure with good quality highways, airports and seaports
  • Robust telecommunications infrastructure with built-in redundancy
  • Vibrant and stable democracy with elections held every five years 
  • Strong air connectivity – frequent flights to major gateways worldwide
  • Largest transhipment port in the region with work underway to create a global logistics hub that will generate important linkage opportunities.
  • Near shore advantage – located within a 4-hour flight radius of 500 million people
  • An educated, trained and trainable workforce

Country data

Jamaica at a glance

Data Type Data Date
Official name Jamaica 2019
Country area 10,991 square kilometers (4,244 square miles) 2019
Capital city Kingston 2019
Population 2,726,667 2018, STATIN
Administrative regions 14 Parishes 2019
Official language(s) English 2019
Other national language(s) Jamaican Patois 2019
GDP per capita USD$4841.65 2018, Trading Economics
Local currency Jamaican Dollar (JMD$) 2019
Exchange rate JMD$136.69 = USD$1.00 (avg.) September 2019, BOJ

Map of Jamaica

last update on: 14/2/2020