Jamaica Is Open for Business with an Enormous Potential for Costa Rican Exporters

Jamaica is the 3rd largest economy in the Caribbean region, has an ever-increasing potential for a diverse array of Tico-made products.

Jamaica is the second commercial partner of Costa Rica in the Caribbean and to which 93 companies already export their products, with significant participation in the industries of glass, paper and cardboard packaging. This reflects an increasing potential for export to this nearby market.

Marta Esquivel, Director of Business Intelligence at PROCOMER (Costa Rican Export Promoter), says that Jamaica is a commercial partner with great opportunities for Costa Rica, reflected in a mutually positive economic context, being the 4th economy in the Caribbean with a 3% growth in GDP.

Jamaica is a service-oriented economy with an elevated dependence on imports, which consists mainly of industrial products. Our country is ranked as 19th as a supplier, with export growth of 6% on average during the last five years, 60% towards the industry sector and 25% towards the food sector.

About the personal care and beauty sector, they are classified as having great potential for placing Costa Rican products in this market. Also, the tourism industry, which generated for this country $ 3,500 million and attracted 4.5 million visitors in 2019. Its hotels and beach resorts allow business people to make purchases both from local distributors and also imported brands that demand products which reflect tropical qualities in its presentation standards, being the USA and Canada the main sources of tourist.

The beauty and aesthetic services are concentrated in the capital Kingston and are provided by local distributors that seek to position ever higher added value. For both segments, preferences are given for tropical ingredients such as coconut, ginger, aloe, and coffee, these are compatible with what can be offered by Costa Rican exporters, supplying for the segments of, for example, perfumes, toilet waters, depilatories, cosmetic preparations, space flavorings, also liquids and creams for the skin.

Another potential opportunity is in the category of environmentally friendly plastics, due to the ban that occurred in the Jamaican market for single-use plastics, like stereo bags, straws, and packaging; making importers look for alternative products and suppliers for marketing eco-friendly options, thus Costa Rica can explore markets like:

A) HDPE with EPI additive trash bags.

B) Vegetable resin PLA plates, glasses, and cutlery.

C) Preform bottles for beverages, pharmaceuticals, and cleaning based on recycled resins.

D) Alternatives based on paper or cardboard, a category in which Costa Rica already exports $ 4.4 million worth, and can be even more diversified such as tableware, straws, and food packaging.

All these groups of products, together with eco-friendly plastics, are options of special interest to be explored by Costa Rican producers, due to the restructuring process in the Jamaican consumption and importantly taking into consideration the 0% tariff under the Costa Rica FTA premise.

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