Jamaica Customs Advances Strides to Repeal and Replace Customs Act

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. 



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