A law in Jamaica allowing the private sector to import up to 15% of cement for the local market free of the common external tariff (CET), has been a success, according to industry, investment and commerce minister Karl Samuda.
The industry has seen an increased stability and a reduction in market prices since the introduction of the regime in March 2006, Samuda was reported as saying by government information service JIS.
The ministry is currently working to implement mechanisms to ensure that the levels of imported cement are contained within the 15% limit of the annual demand.
"Working together, we can assure the country that not only will supplies be readily available, but that prices will be made to exist on a stable basis, instead of erratic price increases that create difficulties in the construction industry," Samuda said.
Local firm Caribbean Cement Company Limited (CCCL) is expected to support the measure, according to Samuda.
The firm held a monopoly on the cement market until just over four years ago, when the government granted a waiver on the CET for imports after defective cement was discovered, leading to a severe shortage of the product.
In 2010, Jamaica produced some 713,000t of cement, against an estimated demand of 710,000t.