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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Jewelry makers in the Virgin Islands and three other U.S. territories now have a $9 million incentive to manufacture their products.
The incentives are the results of a proposal first made in September 1997 by V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna Christian-Christensen. The proposal was made law last week when President Bill Clinton signed the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of 1999.
Jewelry made in the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands is subject to customs duties because the territories are outside the U.S. customs territory. The new law refunds the duties up to 90 percent of the wages paid to insular residents who make fine jewelry in the territories.
A total of $9 million is available in refunds this fiscal year, according to a statement Tuesday from the U.S. Interior Department's Office of Insular Affairs.
"This is a great day for the Virgin Islands and the end result of two years of hard work and perseverance," Christensen said last week.
Clinton offered his support of the measure after visiting the Virgin Islands in 1997 and has since agreed to place special focus on stimulating the economy of the territory and its crippling government debt, Interior's release said.
One local businessman who plans to open a jewelry manufacturing operation in the territory expects the new law will create between 400 and 1,000 new jobs by 2003, the release said.
At a meeting last Friday between Clinton, Christensen and Gov. Charles Turnbull, a $3-per-proof-gallon increase in the territory's rum tax refund for the next five years was discussed, the release said.
The bill, which has Clinton's support and could provide the territory with an additional $12 million a year, has been proposed for action during the last quarter of this fiscal year by the Senate Finance Committee and the House Way and Means Committee, the release said.

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