The Jamaica Customs Agency has embarked on the second phase of its Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programme with the recent launch of the exporter component of the programme.
The AEO Programme is a supply chain security programme that deals with implementing security measures along the supply chain in international trade, with a focus on containerised shipments in particular. The programme is for everyone within the supply chain including importers, exporters, warehouse keepers and brokers.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Manager of the AEO Unit at the Jamaica Customs Agency, Ms. Karen Wilson, explained that the agency has been operating the AEO Importer programme since 2014.
Under that programme, prospective members are required to import a minimum of six full containers per annum and implement the AEO security requirements as part of their organisational protocols and processes.
The new Exporter Programme has a number of requirements, such as export of Full Container Loads (FCL) – at least one per annum, be a registered business with the Government of Jamaica and actively trading for at least three years, completion of all AEO security requirements, compliance with revenue payments and legal obligations of the various government agencies and they must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the JCA.
A pilot programme took place in April followed by sensitisation of the main stakeholders in May.
“What we have done is add those importers who are currently on the Importer Programme, who also export and have expressed an interest to be a part of the programme,” Ms. Wilson stated.
“We have had those exporters added to ASYCUDA as AEO Exporters. They would continue to receive expedited service from both sides, both the importer and the exporter side of things in relation to the processing of their documentation,” she added.
The AEO Manager pointed to the Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT) portal which includes the processing of all declarations and requirements from the trade regulators (import and export) in one central portal.
“With this portal, it is like a virtual one-stop shop, everything is going to be processed through JSWIFT. There will be continued examinations of exporters when the goods are leaving the country, just to ensure that no compromise occurred, but is going to be less intrusive” Ms. Wilson explained.
The AEO Unit Manager explained that companies will be receiving a certification which is internationally recognised by all member countries of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) that have implemented the AEO programme.
“This certification allows for exposure to new markets because we find that with things occurring in terms of security throughout the supply chain, companies are now specifically seeking out other companies that are implementing security measures along their supply chain so they tend to be shifting to do more business with companies that are AEO Certified,” Ms. Wilson explained.
Future benefits of the Exporter Programme include Mutual Recognition Agreements with other countries, which will facilitate seamless movement of goods across third party country borders.
The steps in the application approval process are: risk assessment of applicant; interview and validation of security requirements; recommendations for approval or denial of application; signing of MOU and awarding of certificate.