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Customs House Weekly Series

Jamaica Customs Continues its Public Outreach: At JBDC Expo Today – May 16


 

Following on the heels of Expo Jamaica 2018 held in April, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is intensifying its public outreach activities, and has made its next stop at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC’s) 11th Annual Small Business Expo being held today, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.   

The Customs team will cater to the needs of its clientele and will cover several Customs related areas, including:

  • Temporary imports and exports
  • Motor vehicle imports
  • Incentives for the manufacturing sector
  • Commercial imports
  • Clearance of personal items and personal allowances

The Agency will also be offering assistance to importers, brokers and anyone who may have queries related to the use of the Customs Automated System – ASYCUDA World. For instance, if a customer has a query pertaining to electronic payment, our on-site Officer will be able to access the information and will seek to resolve it ‘on the spot’.  

As the Agency bolsters its public education programme in the 2018/19 financial year, customers will continue to receive information through the Radio Series “Inside Customs” as well as through its flagship community engagement “Customs Meets the Community,” which will dock in the parish of Westmoreland, on June 21, 2018.

In the time being, as part of improving Customer Relations, the Agency is in the process of revamping its Customer Relationship and Feedback Form soon to be made available online, or accessed at any of its ports or corporate offices.

The Agency remains open to the concerns of its customers, and invites them to contact the Customer Service Team at the Jamaica Customs Agency at 922-5140-8 or email: public.relations@jacustoms.gov.jm if they have questions, queries or comments.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #36

Customs House Weekly Series #36

 

Jamaica Customs Team Heads to Portland for third Community Engagement  


 

This Friday, November 17th, 2017, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) will make its third stop in the parish of Portland for its “Customs Meets the Community” series, being held under the theme: ‘Reaching Our Customers Where They Are.’

The event will be held at Di Old Marina, Port Antonio, Portland, starting at 10:30 a.m. and will involve presentations, entertainment and booth displays.

The Pesticides Control Authority (PCA), of the Ministry of Health, and the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies (DCFS), for which the Agency undertakes regulatory and border protection functions will also participate in this Engagement.

The Engagement will target school and church administrators, entrepreneurs, citizen’s associations, political representatives, farmers, civil society, returning residents and the ‘man in the street’, with the aim of increasing their knowledge about Customs policies and procedures, covering several areas of our operations.

“Customs Meets the Community,” was launched in January 2017 and forms part of the JCA’s public education thrust to create more awareness about its mandates and functions, and to better connect with customers and stakeholders in order that they may have a better understanding and appreciation of its operations as a Government entity.

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

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #35

Customs House Weekly Series #35

 

Jamaica Customs Implements New Procedures for Clearing Charitable Items – Comes into Effect November 1, 2017


The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) recognises the important role charitable organisations play in the social and economic development of Jamaica, and as such, the ease at which they do business rests at the forefront of the Agency’s mandate to facilitate trade through the implementation of efficient and effective processes.

It is with this in mind, that the JCA advises that effective Wednesday, November 1, 2017, officers of charitable organisations or persons authorised to effect clearance on their organisations’ behalf, must now proceed directly to the Port of Clearance, instead of to the respective Customs House, in Kingston or Montego Bay. Previously, persons undertaking clearances on behalf of a charitable entity had to visit the respective Customs House to receive approval for clearing charitable items.

In light of the above, charitable organisations must note the following:

  1. All shipments must be consigned in the name and address of the charitable organisation only, before it arrives in Jamaica.
  2. 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. 
  3. The name and signatory on the authorisation letter must be compatible with the information uploaded to the JCA’s database in respect of said charitable organisation.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 reserves the right to contract a licensed Customs Broker for shipments of US$5,000.00 and under this amount.
  6. A Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC) is required for clearing all shipments.

                              

Officers of charitable organisations or persons authorised to clear shipments of US$5,000.00 or less should proceed to the Port of Clearance with the requisite 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, and any other document pertaining to the shipment

 

N.B.:  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 ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data), and upload all supporting documents necessary to facilitate processing.

 

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #34

Customs House Weekly Series #34

Jamaica Customs Continues to Protect the Nation’s Borders: Re-opens Jetty in Port Royal


 

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is committed to protecting and securing the nation’s Ports of Entry, with the aim of keeping our people, society and economy safe from illegal imports and illegal trading activities.

 

Reconstruction of Jetty

In keeping with this mandate, the Agency officially re-opened its Jetty in Port Royal, Kingston, on August 30, 2017. The reconstruction of the Jetty by the JCA is of critical importance as it has expanded the capacity of the Agency to undertake its surveillance activities, as well as the rummaging of vessels, among other functions.

The opening of the Jetty has significantly enhanced the Agency’s operations at the Port Royal Sufferance Wharf, which has seen an increase in the amount of pleasure crafts which now dock at this Port. In June 2017, the Port saw the arrival of fifteen pleasure crafts, compared to five in June 2016.

 

Collaboration is Key

A key strategy in border protection is collaborating with our partners locally, regionally and internationally, in monitoring our coastline. Our partnerships have served to stem human trafficking, decrease the number of marine crimes, minimise the “Gun for Drugs Trade” as well as the “Food for Gun Trade” and reduce illegal imports. In July this year, the JCA and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) partnered in undertaking two Stakeholders’ Fora in the parishes of Clarendon and Manchester, where the entities will be establishing Marine Bases as part of efforts to stem illegal activities along these coastal areas.

 

Trade Mark Owners, Licensees Urged to Be Vigilant

In the meantime, as the Christmas season approaches, and with high volumes of goods expected to be imported, the JCA is imploring Trade Mark Owners and Licensees to be even more vigilant, as it pertains to the importation of counterfeit products. Rights Holders are encouraged to make a formal request to the Commissioner of Customs to undertake the seizure of these goods at the Ports of Entry, or on the local market.

Counterfeit goods are 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.

 

Negative Impact of Counterfeit Goods:

  1. Goods are manufactured in poor conditions.
  2. Ingredients used in these products are sub-standard.
  3. Legitimate manufacturers are forced to compete with illegal traders, who often sell their goods at reduced prices.

 

Counterfeit Trading does the following:

  1. Deceives consumers who believe they are buying authentic products.
  2. Robs legitimate manufacturers that invest in safety and quality manufacturing processes.
  3. Destroys brand-name and the reputation of legitimate manufacturers or suppliers.
  4. Deters investors especially those in the manufacturing space.
  5. Exposes consumers to serious health and safety risks, often associated with counterfeit products.

 

 

Fake goods valued at $65m seized by Customs in less than two years

Approximately $65 million worth of infringing products were successfully forfeited and disposed of by the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), acting on behalf of brand-holders, for the period January 2016 to September 2017.

Velma Ricketts Walker, the commissioner of Customs, told The Gleaner that backpacks/bags represented approximately $43 million of the total and that the effect of the importation of fake goods could be catastrophic for the country's fragile economy.

"The threat of international property rights infringement must not be seen as a victimless crime. It can have serious negative effect on the country's economic growth, impacting of course, the gross domestic product (GDP)," said Ricketts Walker.

"These items, not being the original goods, are cheaper, but could prove disastrous to GDP," Ricketts Walker added.

She said an additional $500 million worth of goods was seized and is to be disposed of, which points to the tough job Customs has in cracking down on the importation of counterfeit products.

Pointing out the difficulties, Ricketts Walker said the real challenge is educating importers on the dangers that counterfeit products have on economic growth, adding the vast majority of counterfeit products originate in China.

"That is the difficulty some importers have. Because thinking you have purchased legitimate items, you suddenly find that they are fake. Not only do you lose your investment, but the goods will be seized and destroyed," the commissioner stated.

The JCA conducts enforcement of intellectual property rights through the utilisation of the Customs Act, Merchandise Mark Act and the Trade Marks Act.

Brand/rights holders or the authorised agents of the infringing product are required to provide the JCA with a notice to act and an indemnity.

"This indemnity serves to indemnify the agency on any cost or charges related to enforcement action undertaken. This may include legal challenges," said Ricketts Walker.

She said that the JCA acts on the behalf of right-holders. The product being infringed must be registered locally with the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), and proof of a valid registration certificate must be presented.

"The agency continues to encourage rights holders and engage us in the fight against infringing/counterfeit products," said Ricketts Walker.

"We also work with our law-enforcement counterparts, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, in this continuous fight. Critical to our fight against counterfeit products are the potential health and safety issues that may arise from counterfeit products such as illegal pharmaceuticals, toiletries, cosmetics and liquor."

 

National campaign needed to hinder importation of counterfeit goods

Commissioner of Customs Velma Ricketts Walker says that a more aggressive national campaign is needed to help combat the out-of-control importation of counterfeit goods.

She said that Jamaica Customs, along with the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office, must seek to educate people about the problem.

"There is a need for greater coordination and a strong preventative programme to be put in place, while we try our best in border protection," said Ricketts Walker.

"Because fraudsters are becoming more ingenious, it is making the job of identifying the fake goods that more difficult, which means that we have to be working overtime in trying keep it to a minimum, while attempting to eradicate the problem," she stated.

See original report here: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20170919/fake-goods-valued-65m-seized-customs-less-two-years

 

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #32

Customs House Weekly Series #32

Jamaica Customs heads to Spanish Town for 2nd Community-based Engagement  


Spanish Town will come alive this Thursday, August 17, as the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), will host its second community-based engagement: “Customs Meets the Community,” under the theme: ‘Reaching Our Customers Where They Are.’

The event will be held on the grounds of the Social Development Commission (SDC), 1 Port Henderson Road, Spanish Town, St. Catherine from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. and will involve a series of presentations, performances and booth displays.

The Engagement will target school and church administrators, business people, charity groups, political representatives, entrepreneurs, vendors, civil society and the ‘man in the street’, with the aim of increasing their knowledge about Customs policies and clearance procedures.

The Plant Quarantine/Produce Inspection Branch, within the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF); a border regulatory agency, will also be part of this Engagement.

The “Customs Meets the Community,” initiative was launched in January 2017, and is in keeping with the JCA’s public education thrust to expand its reach and better connect with its customers at the ‘grass roots’ level. The Agency’s first engagement was held in Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth in May this year.

 

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #28

Customs House Weekly Series #28

Jamaica Customs Provides Guidelines for Doing Temporary Imports


The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) as part of its customer engagement focus has instituted several channels to allow our customers to reach us and to make Customs related enquiries as well as provide their comments and feedback.

The Agency, through its Customer Service Representatives, engages with our customers via face-to-face interaction, emails, our website (Live Chat) and telephone channels.

Some of the enquiries we receive, include, but are not limited to:  

  • Import duties and other charges
  • Import procedures
  • Export
  • Auctions
  • Re-importation procedures
  • Permit  and licences
  • Tariffs
  • Importing motor vehicles, items for charity, etc.

The JCA recently received a question regarding temporary import procedures (that is items that will only remain in the island temporarily) via our email: public.relation@jacustoms.gov.jm.

 

The question from an overseas company is as follows:

“Our technicians are going to travel to Jamaica for work reasons. During the stay in Jamaica (a week long) we have to show some work equipment (professional material) to the clients. Therefore the technicians will travel with these equipment (made up of cables and electronic devices) to be able to show them to the client and teach them how to use them. Then after the week of stay, the technicians will take the same equipment back to Spain. We would need to know if this professional material should carry some documentation and what are the customs procedures that we must follow.”

 

Response by the JCA regarding temporary imports:

“Goods being imported on a temporary basis must be entered on a Temporary Importation Declaration and the applicable duties placed on deposit or covered by a Bond. An invoice outlining the value of the items will be needed to facilitate this process.

The goods can remain in Jamaica for up to three (3) months and in the event the items will be required to remain longer than this stipulated time frame, an application for extension must be made to Collector of Customs prior to the expiration of the period. Failure to return the items within the stipulated time frame will result in the deposit made becoming non-refundable. You may need to enlist the services of a licensed customs broker or request your local agent to do so on your behalf.” 

For Customs enquiries contact our Customer Engagement Team at telephone: (876) 922-5140-8; Email: public.relations@jacustoms.gov.jm; quick.response@jacustoms.gov.jm or Live Chat at www.jacustoms.gov.jm. You may also follow us @jacustoms for pertinent information.

 

 

 

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Mission Statement
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

Corporate Office
2-4 King Street, Kingston
Phone: 876 948 5151

Opening Hours
Monday - Thursday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Friday: 8:00am - 4:00pm

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