and in the meantime we're trying to get the food import bill down from $1b as well
man, folks sure do buy alot of weave
Jamaica's weave imports set to hit $1 billion in 2013
Friday, November 01, 2013
Jamaica's importation of wigs and weaves is set to hit $1 billion this year based on growth over the last four years.
The island officially imported US$7 million ($735) million worth of the
product in 2012, up from $3.3 million in 2008, according to trade
statistics. While the country imports large quantities of the product,
it fails to export any of its own national's hair to minimise the trade
Additionally, the imports are up to 14 times that of neigbouring Caribbean islands.
Some 50 per cent of the imports originated from China (wigs and
eyelashes) in 2012, representing US$3.5 million. But for some reason,
the China data appears to omit human hair which would have grown the
The remainder includes US$3.5 million (human hair, wigs and eyelashes)
from the US, South Korea and Dominica Republic, according to the
International Trade Centre, an affiliate of the World Trade Organisation
and United Nations.
Women and men are increasingly wearing synthetic and 'recycled' human hair as necessity rather than luxury.
"Fake hair is not necessary for survival but has become a staple for
many women," according to Dr Veronica 'Ewurama' Reid, founder of
Beautiful Earth Jamaica, which manufactures a line of beauty products
and operates two spas/salons in Jamaica.
The salon caters to natural hairstyles including loc extensions, but not
weave and wigs. It's a distinction discussed in her short book entitled
'Chances Are You're Not Natural' on the shifting tone.
"I think it's an oversimplification. Extensions aren't always about
looking different and some are undetectable. However, most wigs/weaves
serve the same purpose of bleaching-to look like our 'betters'," she
reasoned to Caribbean Business Report.
The import becomes significant when compared with neighbours, whether
larger in terms of economy or population. For instance, Jamaica's
imports are seven times more than that of Trinidad & Tobago,
Barbados and Dominica Republic each at some US$1 million. Additionally,
that figure rises to roughly 14 times more than in Haiti and Cuba.
The weave importation deficit serves as a metaphor for the island's
wider trade deficit, currently at US$2.2 billion for the first six
months of 2013. This importation is more than the annual car imports
from South Korea at US$6 million, data indicates.
Importantly, the weave data would also fails to account for smugglers or
that which is imported under personal use by higglers. But attempts to
formalise the industry would backfire, reasoned Reid.
"Government intervention would not be welcomed and there would be nasty
backlash and a black market springing up if the government tried to
block imports," she stated.
Officially, wigs attract 20 per cent duty, GCT of 21.5 per cent,
environmental levy of 0.5 per cent, standard compliance fee of 0.3 per
cent, processing fee of US$10,000 for imports under container loads and
an examination fee of $2,500. Interestingly, weaves or any product
requiring sowing or gluing pays the fees listed above but no duty.
A medium-sized weave importer who asked to remain anonymous to allow for
formalisation of his business indicated that the industry already pays
its fair share of 'duties' and that increased taxation would serve to
burden the poor.
"Lol. Well, like other 'luxury' items it is [taxed], and as a result
contributes immensely to the high prices that women -- mostly from
humble backgrounds -- are paying for hair extensions in Jamaica," he
Regardless of taxation the client base continues to grow daily.
"I am going to buy some hair next week," a dancer sporting a natural
mohawk hairstyle, who uses the stage name 'Chavelle', told this
newspaper on Wednesday night.