The CEO/Commissioner of Customs, Mrs. Velma Ricketts Walker, has reiterated that the use of the Automated Customs Management System, ASYCUDA World, is necessary to achieve greater efficiencies in a modern customs administration.
According to Mrs. Walker, one of the areas in which the Agency has seen significant improvement is the use of the advance manifest, 24 hours prior to the arrival of a vessel and 15 minutes after ‘take-off’ for aircrafts, in compliance with the 2014 Customs (Amendment) Act, and in alignment with international best practices.
The Commissioner made reference to Article 7 of the World Customs Organisation’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement dealing with Pre-arrival Processing which states: “Each member shall adopt or maintain procedures allowing for the submission of import documentation and other required information, including manifests, in order to begin processing prior to the arrival of goods with a view to expediting the release of goods upon arrival.”
She stated, that among the benefits to be derived from the use of advance manifests, is the ability of our clients to complete and submit declarations to the Agency for advanced risk assessment, which involves ‘real-time’ routing of declarations to the various electronic lanes, for pre-clearance processing.
The transition from a partially electronic environment to ASYCUDA World, which is a fully automated system, has seen positive results; importers and the Agency have seen a reduction in costs and the time required to clear goods. However, the Agency is mindful that there are challenges in some areas and is committed to continuous improvement, for excellent service delivery.
Additionally, the enhanced border protection controls and trade facilitation initiatives with the use of risk assessment has reduced the use of intrusive methods of inspection while narrowing the scope of intervention to areas of interest.
Commissioner Walker also indicated that the use of ASYCUDA World has enhanced the Agency’s trade facilitation arm to include, among other things, the:
- Introduction of a standard electronic Single Administrative Document (eSAD) for all Customs transactions
- Standardisation of operating procedures for processing passengers and cargo
- Integration with regulatory agencies for cross-agency paperless processing and assessment
- Implementation of an Advance Deposit Account facility allowing for the real-time payment of duties
- Integration with the Port Community System (PCS) for the single submission of manifests to allow for faster port clearances
- Revamping of procedures for new and used motor vehicles
- Integration with Tax Administration- Jamaica and Island Traffic Authority (ITA) for automated services such as Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN), Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC) and real-time exchange of motor vehicle information, etc.
Other trade facilitation initiatives by the Agency include:
- The Authorised Economic Operator (AEO), which is a World Customs Organisation compliant programme.
- Site Inspection, which allows an importer to enjoy the benefit of having a shipment inspected at his/her warehouse by the Customs Officer.
- Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) that facilitates inter-bank transfers for the payment of duties and fees, granting the importer the freedom and ease of transacting business at his/her convenience.
- The E-Payment Facility which enables both exporters and importers to pay duties and fees at their convenience from anywhere in the world.
The JCA is assuring its customers and stakeholders that it will continue to modernise its operations with a view to improve its operational processes, border protection capabilities and trade facilitation initiatives.