Customs House Weekly Series #25
Jamaica Customs encourages use of Advance Cargo Clearance
One of the areas in which the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) 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.
Article seven (7) of the World Customs Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement dealing with Pre-arrival Processing 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.”
Benefits of Using Advance Manifests
Among the benefits to be derived from the use of advance manifests, is that clients 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 the Automated Customs System, ASYCUDA World, 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.
Also, 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.
Ways in which ASYCUDA World has enhanced Trade Facilitation
- Introduction of a standard electronic Single Administrative Document (e-SAD) 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:
- 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.
- E-Payment Facility which enables both exporters and importers to pay duties and fees at their convenience from anywhere in the world.
The JCA will continue to modernise its operations with a view to improve its operational processes, border protection capabilities and trade facilitation initiatives.