Customs Weekly

Customs House Weekly

Jamaica Customs Reminds Importers of the Procedures for Clearing Charitable Items as the Summer Approaches

 

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) takes this opportunity to remind importers, including schools, churches, charities and foundations of the following requirements and procedures for clearing charitable items at the nation’s ports:

  • All shipments must be in the name and address of the charitable organisation only, before it arrives in Jamaica.
  • A Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC) is required for clearing all shipments.
  • Where an individual other than officers of the charitable organisation is being asked to undertake clearance, a notarised letter of authorisation on the organisation’s letter head must be presented to Customs. 
  • The name and signatory on the authorisation letter must be compatible with the information uploaded to the JCA’s database in respect of the charitable entity.
  • A Special Declaration must be completed and signed by the responsible officer on the organisation’s letter head. This is to be given to the authorised person conducting business on behalf of the Charity or the licensed Customs Broker.
  • A licensed Customs Broker is required to clear shipments valued at and above US$5,000.00, and a C73 Form (Authorisation for a Person to act on behalf of another) must be completed. However, the Charity organisation also reserves the right to contract a licensed Customs Broker for shipments under $5000.00.

As it pertains to shipments of US$5,000.00 or more, a licensed Customs Broker, who, upon receiving a completed C73 form, must prepare an entry into the ASYCUDA system (Automated System for Customs Data), and upload all relevant documentation. 

Additionally, officers of charitable organisations or persons authorised to clear shipments of US$5,000.00 or less, should proceed directly to the Port of Clearance with the documents pertaining to the shipment consigned to the name and address of the charitable organisation to include:

  • A copy of the Certificate of Registration of Approved Charity
  • A letter of authorisation where applicable
  • The signed Special Declaration
  • Bill of lading or Airway Bill
  • Packing list
  • Invoice
  • Tax Compliance Certificate
  • Permits/licences where applicable
  • Any other document(s) pertaining to the shipment

 

Educational Institutions

Schools wishing to import items of charity (such as canteen equipment--stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, etc.) outside of their entitlements covered under the Second Schedule of the Customs Act must receive approval from the National Education Trust (NET), before the items are shipped to Jamaica, in order to receive duty exemption and other prescribed benefits.  

Approval for the importation of school supplies and educational/instructional materials/items covered under the second schedule of the Customs Act must be sought through the Ministry of Education’s Procurement Unit, before the items are imported into Jamaica, in order for duty exemption and other benefits to be given.  

Entities wishing to import items of charity (such as back-to-school fairs), must register with the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies before getting the items shipped into Jamaica, in order to receive the relevant duty exemption and other benefits.  

 

 

 

Customs House Weekly

Jamaica Customs Advances Strides to Repeal and Replace Customs Act


 

  • Did you know that the Government of Jamaica is in the process of repealing and replacing the Customs Act?
  • What does it mean to repeal and replace the Customs Act?
  • How will it benefit you?

One of the key strategic priorities of the Government of Jamaica is to create an environment that facilitates trade and promotes greater ease of doing business. As part of this process, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has taken steps to repeal and replace the Customs Act, which will serve to further promote future business opportunities for Jamaica, especially in the areas of shipping, logistics and international trade.

The proposed new Customs legislation will retain some of the substantive provisions of the current Act and will incorporate several new provisions geared towards trade facilitation and international best practices. Additionally, the area of risk-based compliance and selectivity in Customs processing or treatment will be part of the new Act.

 

The new Act will allow for the following:

  1. Improved transparency – use of modern terms, increases the ease with which the legislation is read and understood
  2. Improved dispute resolution – provision of administrative appeal processes for Customs decisions.
  3. Increased predictability – introduction of advance rulings.
  4. Increased facilitation for compliance with customs processes – persons will benefit from added facilitation re: processes and clearance times.

 

Benefits of the New Legislation:

The legislative proposals are intended to achieve the following:

  • Promote socio-economic development and assist with the creation of the conditions for economic growth.
  • Facilitate the efficient processing of Customs-related transactions.
  • Aid in protecting local businesses and the international supply chain from unfair international trading practices, smuggling of goods, under-invoicing, fraud and intellectual property rights infringement.
  • Encourage voluntary compliance with Customs laws and procedures.
  • Further support the implementation of ASYCUDA World.
  • Strengthen the enforcement powers of the Commissioner of Customs.
  • Strengthen the ability of the JCA to effectively protect Jamaica’s borders.
  • Assist the JCA in facilitating the processing of increased volumes of trade in an increasingly complex international trading environment; and
  • Encourage new business models and requirements, including e-commerce.

 

Modern Terminology and Ease of Use

The new terms and definitions in the proposed Customs Bill are consistent with the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) which has been adopted by several Customs administrations worldwide. The use of internationally accepted terms and definitions will facilitate Jamaica's interaction with the international trading community and will assist carriers, agents and all the industry professionals who operate in the global context.

 

Wide Range of Security

There is an overarching provision in the proposed Bill which deals with security. It is proposed that the JCA will facilitate a broader range of types of security. Further, security may be specific, that is, relating to a specific consignment of goods; or general, that is, relating to any class/kind/category of goods during a specified or indefinite period. 

 

Fluidity of Procedures

Express provisions are made for different Customs procedures in keeping with a logistics focused economy. For example, the legislative framework will be established to facilitate the introduction of Customs processing procedures, such as inward and outward processing. Such processing procedures will enable goods to be imported for the specific purpose of under-going processing in Jamaica on condition that the products that result from the processing will be exported. In addition, goods may be seamlessly moved from one Customs procedure to another, once all Customs requirements are satisfied.

 

Clarification of the Transit and Transhipment Procedures

The proposed Bill seeks to clarify the regimes relating to transit and transshipment to promote improved alignment with Asycuda World and international best practice.

 

Advance Arrival Reports

The Agency has sought to revise the provisions concerning advance reports to be provided by carriers engaged in short haul flights and voyages as opposed to long haul flights and voyages. The time frames in the proposed draft Bill will conform to the World Customs Organisation’s (WCO) SAFE Framework of Standards. These time frames will facilitate further compliance by shipping agents.

 

Creation of a Legal Framework for Simplified Clearance and Release Processes

Simplified clearance and release processes are relevant to advancing logistics in Jamaica. Express provisions to this effect are contained in the draft Bill, which is expected to be tabled in the Houses of Parliament by March 31, 2019. 

 

 

Customs House Weekly

Jamaica Customs Heads to Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland  
For Public Engagement


The Customs team, engaging and informing stakeholders in various ways, at its public education sessions

 

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) will make its fifth stop in the parish of Westmoreland, for the continuation of its public education series “Customs Meets the Community,” being held under the theme:  ‘Reaching Our Customers Where They Are.’

The event will be held on Thursday, July 12 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Manning’s School Auditorium, Savanna-La-Mar, and will bring together stakeholders from across the ‘nook and cranny’ of the parish, including school administrators, church leaders, political representatives, entrepreneurs, returning residents, Charity groups, members of civil society and ‘the ordinary  man and woman on the street.’

Importantly, as part of its communication strategy for this Engagement, and with the assistance of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, the Agency has sought to engage the “special needs” community, and has introduced the use of Sign Language Interpreters for persons who are deaf or hearing impaired, to assist in this regard.  

Since the start of the series in May 2017, the Agency has taken a holistic approach in educating its stakeholders, by collaborating with its border and regulatory agencies. So far the JCA has partnered with the Plant Quarantine Unit, the Pesticides Control Authority, the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies, the Agriculture Incentives Unit, and for Westmoreland, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office – JIPO.  

These sessions are being done in order for the Agency to better connect with customers and to create more awareness about Customs policies and procedures, among other Customs related matters. To date the Agency has held Engagements in the parishes of St. Elizabeth, St. Catherine, Portland and St. Ann, in tandem with the Social Development Commission, which assists in mobilising the various target groups within the parishes.     

 

 

Customs House Weekly

Avoid 'knock-offs'


The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is committed to securing Jamaica's ports of entry, and keeping our people, society and economy safe from illegal imports and trading activities.

The Agency continues to be proactive in seeking to reduce and eliminate illegal activities that threaten the economic stability and safety of our people, including detecting and seizing counterfeit goods.

Negative Impact of Counterfeit Goods

In this regard, the JCA implores trade mark owners and licensees to be even more vigilant as it pertains to the importation of counterfeit products. We are also encouraging them to make a formal request to the commissioner of customs to undertake the seizure of these goods at our ports of entry or on the local market.

Counterfeit goods are “knock-offs” or fake items, which an illegitimate trader seeks to pass off as genuine. They may include pharmaceutical products, backpacks, eyeglasses, lotions, handbags, perfumes, clothes, watches, footwear, cosmetics, electrical items, alcohol, and pirated DVDs/CDs, among others.

The agency recognises as well that people who are involved in the sale of counterfeit products also engage in the sale of restricted and potentially life-threatening items such as black mosquito coils, skin bleaching products and fireworks, etc.

Many Jamaicans do not recognise the harmful effects of using counterfeit products and as such, continue to support this illegimate trade. Of note is that many of these products are made in unsafe environments and under unhealthy conditions.

Many of these products also contain poor or sub-standard ingredients (e.g. pharmaceuticals) that are harmful, and therefore, the agency is warning consumers to desist from buying “knock-off” items.

 Collaboration Key

A key strategy in protecting our borders is collaborating with our local and international partners. The agency's partnerships have served to stem human trafficking and minimise the 'Gun for Drugs Trade', the 'Food for Gun Trade' ,as well as illegal imports.

The agency therefore takes this opportunity to warn people involved in smuggling activities to cease this practice, as our officers are fully committed to protecting our country and uphold the tenants of our motto: “Country Above Self.”

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series

Jamaica Customs to Hosts Community-based Engagement in St. Ann


The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) will make its fourth stop in the ‘Garden Parish’ of St. Ann, for its public education engagement “Customs Meets the Community,” under the theme:  ‘Reaching Our Customers Where They Are.’

The event will be held on Friday, March 23, 2018, at the Anglican Church Hall in Ocho Rios, from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., and will bring together several stakeholders including school and church administrators, business leaders, political representatives, entrepreneurs, returning residents, members of civil society and other government entities.

During the 2017/18 Financial Year, the JCA embarked on a series of community-based public education sessions which allowed the entity to better connect with its customers, and also create more awareness about Customs policies and procedures, among other Customs related matters.

For this series, the Agency has taken a holistic approach in providing information to its stakeholders, by collaborating with some of its border and regulatory agencies, including the Agriculture Incentives Unit of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF), which will join the Agency on this leg of the journey to St. Ann.

Other entities with which the entity has partnered are the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies (DCFS), the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) and the Plant Quarantine Unit.

Since May 2017, the Agency has held Engagements in Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth, Spanish Town, St. Catherine and Port Antonio, Portland in tandem with the Social Development Commission (SDC), which assists in identifying and mobilising the various target groups.

 

 

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To facilitate trade, protect our borders, optimise revenue collection, through collaborative border management and delivery of high quality customer services and to develop and maintain a team of motivated professional and competent staff.

         

Jamaica Customs Agency

Customs House
Myers Wharf,
Newport East, Kingston 15
Phone: 876 922 5140-8 | 922 8770-3

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Phone: 876 948 5151

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