Latest News

Customs House Weekly Series #27

Customs House Weekly Series #27

Steps for Participating in Public Auctions Held by Jamaica Customs


From time to time the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) will offer for sale to the public, items or goods within its possession, in keeping with provisions of the Customs Act.

Persons interested in participating in such auctions must adhere to the requirements and must also note that at no time will the Agency use email or telephone to offer items for sale.

 

Public Advertising

All Public Auctions held by the Agency are advertised in the print media (newspaper) thirty (30) days before the date of an auction. The Agency will not sell or auction any item or good outside of the guidelines that are laid out in the Customs Act and its Regulations. Additionally, any item placed on auction, such as a motor vehicle, which is not sold at that auction is put up for resale by the JCA, at a subsequent auction. All motor vehicles are sold through a competitive bidding process and no individual bidder is accorded special treatment.

 

Registering for JCA Auction

  • All persons wishing to participate in an auction must register through/with the JCA.
  • Registration takes place at Queen’s Warehouse – 230 Spanish Town Road, Queen’s Warehouse – Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA), Queen’s Warehouse – Sangster International Airport (SIA); Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.  Registration of bidders closes at 3:00 p.m. on the day before an auction.

 

Requirements

Applicants are required to submit the following:

  • Two (2) passport sized photographs
  • Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) Card
  • Valid ID (Driver’s Licence, Passport or Electoral ID)
  • Bidder’s registration fee of Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00). The bidder will be given a Bidder’s Registration Card which expires on December 31 each year.

 

Payment

  • All payments – cash or managers’ cheque, are only to be paid to the Jamaica Customs Agency’s Cashier, on the day of the auction.
  • All cheques must be written in the name: ‘Collector of Customs’. At no time should persons make payments to any person or entity outside of these accepted channels. 

 

The Law

Section 88, sub-sections 1 & 2 of the Customs Act specify the process by which goods deposited within a Queen’s Warehouse shall be sold:

Section 88 (1)  of the Customs Act states: “where under the provisions of this Act any goods are required to be deposited in a Queen’s warehouse and such goods are of a perishable nature, then it shall be lawful for the Commissioner, notwithstanding, such provisions, to sell the same forthwith by public auction; and if such goods though not perishable, are of a kind not permitted by any other provision of  law to be deposited in a Queen’s Warehouse, it shall be lawful for the Commissioner, notwithstanding such provisions to sell the same by public auction after fourteen days’ notice by publication in the Gazette.”

Section 88 (2) of the Customs Act states: "where any goods are deposited in a Queen's warehouse under the provisions of this Act and the same are not entered for warehousing or delivery from such Queen's warehouse within three months after such deposit, or within such further period as the Commissioner may direct, and all charges for removal, freight and rent and all other expenses incurred in respect thereof duly paid, such goods may be sold by public auction after one month's notice being given by publication in the Gazette.”

The “further period” is up to seven (7) days before the date of an auction.  

 

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #26

Customs House Weekly Series #26

Jamaica Customs’ Trade Facilitation Initiatives:
Improving Jamaica’s Regional and Global Competitiveness


Jamaica operates in a global space and must remain competitive in the area of trade, logistics and transshipment, coupled with the use statistical data and information, in order that the country can continue to improve its performance ranking regionally and internationally.

In this regard, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) continues to place emphasis on its Trade Facilitation mandate, with the aim of further building capacity, and improving its regional and global competitiveness as a Customs administration.

 

Customs Tops Component Ranking

The World Bank Logistics Performance Index posits that “Improving logistics performance is at the core of the economic growth and competitive agenda.”

In 2016, the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) ranked Jamaica at 119 out of 160 countries. While Jamaica slipped in ranking since the previous LPI in 2014, it must be noted that one of the six dimensions that make up the overall Ranking Index in ‘logistics friendliness’ is “the efficiency of customs and border clearancewhich showed the best ranking/rating of the six components.

 

The Six Components

  1. The efficiency of customs and border management clearance (“Customs”)

109

54

  1. The quality of trade and transport infrastructure (“Infrastructure”)

120

61

  1. The ease of arranging competitively priced shipments (“Ease of Arranging Shipments”)

117

86

  1. The competence and quality of logistics services – trucking, forwarding, and customs brokerage (“Quality of Logistics Services”)

126

84

  1. The ability to track and trace consignments (“Tracking and Tracing”)

116

89

  1. The frequency with which shipments reach consignees within scheduled or expected delivery times (“Timeliness”)

136

83

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adhering to International Standards

The JCA continues its transformation into a modern Customs administration and adopting and applying international best practices is a key part of the Agency’s operating framework. Some of these international best practices include:

  • The World Customs Organisation’s (WCO) Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), which addresses simplified Customs processes and procedures.
  • The WCO’s Safe Framework of Standards which addresses supply and logistics trade security as well as visibility throughout the supply chain. The JCA’s Authorised Economic Operator Programme is WCO compliant.
  • The WCO’s Immediate Release Guidelines which addresses under what circumstances and what type of cargo Customs should give immediate release.
  • The WCO’s Data Model which ensures standardisation of information required from stakeholders.
  • The WCO’s Customs Business Partnership Guidelines, which ensures that Customs has proper consultation with logistics stakeholders. The JCA established a Customs Business Partnership Forum in January 2017.
  • The WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which incorporates many aspects of the RKC with respect to Customs processes and procedures.

Additionally, notwithstanding implementation challenges, the automated Customs system, ASYCUDA World, has improved the international trading environment for all import, export and transit Customs formalities, including payment and selectivity rule for inspection. In pursuit of a paperless environment already five Regulatory Authorities are using the system to complete their administrative functions in the clearance of goods.

Importantly, Jamaica Customs seeks to bring Other Government Agencies (OGAs) on board through the use of an automated environment and the use of risk management. This important element ensures adequate Business to Government (B2G) and Government to Business (G2B) transactions, and Government to Government (G2G) collaboration.  The impending Trade Single Window that has been approved by Cabinet is also expected to further facilitate trade and improve the country’s logistics performance.

Additionally, while the Agency’s intrusive inspection stood at 85% in 2015-2016, the JCA is now averaging between 36-39% in 2017. This is attributed to:

  • Use of Advanced Cargo Manifest.
  • Increased risk assessment.
  • Increased compliance.
  • Improved accuracy of declaration through system pre-assessment.

The Agency has also broadened its scope with the recent collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), making Jamaica the first country to integrate IATA’s Cargo-XML messaging standard into ASYCUDA World, which will make it easier for airlines, freight forwarders and shippers to ensure that the information being provided to Jamaica Customs is technically correct and in line with the standards of industry bodies, such as the WCO.

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #25

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.

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #24

Customs House Weekly Series #24

Jamaica Customs heads to St. Elizabeth – first “Customs Meets the Community” engagement to get underway


On Thursday, May 25, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) will head to Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth for its inaugural community-based engagement, “Customs Meets the Community,” under the theme: ‘Reaching Our Customers Where They Are.’

This initiative was launched in January this year, and is in keeping with the Agency’s strategy to expand its reach, augment its public education activities, and to better connect with its customers and stakeholders at the community or ‘ground level’.

The engagements will initially be undertaken in three parishes, St. Elizabeth, St. Catherine and Portland, and will provide information on travel, trade, Customs policies and clearance procedures as well as solicit feedback from customers and stakeholders.

The sessions will target civil society representatives, school administrators, church leaders and groups, returning residents, members of the political representatives, business people, charity groups, and the ‘man on the street’.

The initiative is being undertaken in collaboration with the Social Development Commission.

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #23

Customs House Weekly Series #23

Jamaica Customs First to Adopt the United Nations Automated System Integrating IATA’s Cargo eXtensibleMarkup Language (XML) Messaging Standards


 

Jamaica is on the brink of creating history in the air freight industry, as it will be the first country to adopt the latest version of ASYCUDA World which now integrates the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Cargo-XML messaging standards. 

IATA’s Cargo XML messaging standards is emerging as the preferred standard for electronic communication among industry stakeholders such as airlines, shippers, freight forwarders, customs,security and regulatory agencies worldwide.

This historic move to adopt IATA’s Cargo XML Standards results from collaboration between IATA, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which now integrates IATA’s Cargo-XML messaging standard into ASYCUDA World, the automated customs management system used by the JCA and over 90 other countries worldwide.  The integration of Cargo-XML in ASYCUDA World standardizes electronic communications between airlines and customs authorities using the program. 

The new Cargo-XML messaging standards will make it easier for airlines, freight forwarders and shippers to ensure that the information being provided to Jamaica Customs is of high quality, technically correct and in line with the standards of industry bodies such as the World Customs Organization (WCO).  It will also reduce message duplication and simplify communication across the supply chain.

As part of the implementation of this new messaging standards, the International Airline Training Fund (IATF), which is established by IATA to bridge industry training gaps has conducted training in the IATA XML Cargo messaging format among industry stakeholders (Airlines and Customs) in Jamaica during the first week of May 2017.  The training which was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston was facilitated under the umbrella of a Collaborative Agreement between IATA and the JCA and was conducted to ensure that Jamaica is in line with the use of this new messaging format which has become the recommended best practice in the Airline Industry.

Consequent on this successful collaboration between IATA, UNCTADand the JCA; the Agency, as part of its Asycuda World implementation, will now pilot the new IATA Cargo XML standards commencing with selected airlines and freight forwarders in the air freight industry; thereafter the use of the standards will be expanded to include other members of the airlines and freight forwarding industry.

This new Cargo-XML standard is based on multi-modal and cross-border messaging and aims at facilitating cargo business processes, satisfying customs requirements for electronic Advance CargoInformation (ACI) necessary for effective risk and security assessment of cargo prior to their arrival in the island.

The use of ACI to facilitate pre-arrival processing and release of cargo is consistent with Jamaica’s obligation under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) ratified by Jamaica.  It also facilitates security requirements set out in the World Customs Organization’s SAFE Framework of Standards which Jamaica Customs abides by and which is necessary to ensure global supply chain security.

This move for which Jamaica Customs is a pioneering implementing administration will ensure that airlines, freight forwarders, shippers and other stakeholders are ‘speaking’ the same digital language and is fundamental to enhancing efficiency, driving trade growth and maximizing safety and security across the industry.

Jamaica Customs views the adoption and implementation of the most recentIATA Cargo XML standards as a critical step towards assisting the country in meeting its international obligations, improving cargo security, modernizing customs procedures and fostering participation in global commerce through advance electronic data submission for air cargo shipments.  This will further improve the risk management capabilities and operational efficiency of the Agency as was envisaged with the implementation of the Asycuda World Customs management system.

In order to continue its work in favor of trade facilitation in Jamaica, JCA will explore with IATA, UNCTAD and the industry further initiatives towards an efficient paperless administration.

 

 

Jamaica Customs Warns Public of Scammers

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is warning the public to be wary of scammers who illicitly solicit funds from persons, under the guise that motor vehicles are being sold by the Agency.

All Public Auctions held by the Agency are advertised in the print media (newspaper) thirty (30) days before the date of the auction. Section 88, sub-sections 1 & 2 of the Customs Act specify the process by which goods deposited within a Queen’s Warehouse shall be sold.

The JCA further advises that the entity only sells goods on auctions and will not sell any item or good outside of the guidelines laid out in the Customs Act and its Regulations. Any item placed on Public Auction, such as a motor vehicle, which is not sold at that auction, will only be resold at a subsequent auction.

All motor vehicles are sold through competitive bidding, and no individual bidder is accorded special treatment or privilege.

At no time will the Agency use email or telephone to offer items for sale. Importantly, all payments – cash or managers’ cheque, are only to be paid to the Jamaica Customs Agency’s Cashier, on the day of the auction. Cheques must be written in the name: ‘Collector of Customs’.

Persons who may have been scammed are urged to report the matter to the Police. Also persons who have information on this or any other illicit activity that negatively implicates the Agency are being asked to provide written information to Jamaica Customs, addressed to the Commissioner of Customs, 15 Myers’ Wharf, Kingston 15.

Registration for An Auction

Persons wishing to participate in an auction must register through/with the JCA.

Registration takes place at Queen’s Warehouse – 230 Spanish Town Road, Queen’s Warehouse – Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA), Queen’s Warehouse – Sangster International Airport (SIA); Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.  Registration of bidders closes at 3:00 p.m. on the day before an auction.

Applicants are required to submit the following:

  • Two (2) passport sized photographs
  • Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) Card
  • Valid ID (Driver’s Licence, Passport or Electoral ID)
  • Bidder’s registration fee of Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00). The bidder will be given a Bidder’s Registration Card which expires on December 31 each year.

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #22

Customs House Weekly Series #22

Are You Returning to Jamaica? Here’s How Jamaica Customs Can Assist You


RETURNING RESIDENTS

If you are a Jamaican national eighteen (18) years or older and have been living abroad for three years or more, and you are planning on returning to Jamaica to live permanently, you may qualify for the Returning Resident Incentive. Under this incentive, qualified applicants will be granted special exemption from duty on their household effects (items), whether new or used, within the quantity allowed.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

The first step is to contact the Jamaican Consulate in the country where you currently reside. You can also contact the Returning Residents Unit at:

 

HEAD OFFICE OR

 

Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA)   Montego Bay Revenue Service Building

Myers’ Wharf Newport East

  18B Howard Cooke Boulevard,
Kingston 15   Montego Bay, St. James
Telephone: (876) 922-5140-8, ext – 3005, 3119, 3120, 3121, 3195   Telephone:(876) 952-0000, ext 2023 
E-mail: rru@jacustoms.gov.jm
Website: www.jacustoms.gov.jm

 

NEXT STEP

Ensure you obtain the necessary documentation which you will present to the JCA’s Returning Residents Unit as proof of your intention to return to Jamaica as a permanent resident.

 

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO PROVE JAMAICAN NATIONALITY

  • Valid Jamaican passport
  •  Foreign passport with Unconditional Landing Stamp

 

PROOF THAT YOU RESIDED OVERSEAS FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS

  • Tax returns for the last three consecutive years (2014, 2015, 2016)
  • Pension advice and social security letter
  • Pay stubs
  • Letter of separation from employer
  • Evidence of disposal of property (for example, Sales Agreement)

 

PROOF OF INTENTION TO RETURN TO JAMAICA PERMANENTLY

  • Evidence of property owned in Jamaica
  • Rental contract or rent receipt
  • Contract or letter of employment

 

OTHER DOCUMENTS YOU WILL NEED TO PRESENT AT THE RETURNING RESIDENTS UNIT UPON ARRIVAL OF THE SHIPMENT IN JAMAICA

  • Unaccompanied  Baggage Declaration Form (C27) obtained at the airport on arrival in Jamaica
  • Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN)
  • Validated Bill of Lading or Airway Bill - collected from local shipping agent

 

RETURNING STUDENT

The returning student must be a Jamaican student who has attained the age of 18 years and who has been studying abroad for more than one year, but less than 3 consecutive years. The following documents, from the last institution of study, should be presented for consideration:

  • Transcript
  • Letter confirming attendance
  • Identification card

 

DEPORTEE

A deportee who has been residing overseas for the last three (3) consecutive years should present their Deportation Order and Case File.

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #21

Customs House Weekly Series #21

 

New Commissioner of Customs charges employees to maintain high performance standards; says JCA can be a global leader


Mrs. Velma Ricketts Walker who now sits at the helm of the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), as CEO/Commissioner of Customs, effective Monday, April 10, 2017, has charged employees of the Agency to undertake their job functions at the highest level, in order that the JCA can realise its full potential and become a global leader in Customs administration.

 

Vision for Customs

In her inaugural message to staff, Mrs. Walker stated that she will “display objectivity, fairness, transparency and professionalism,” while remaining committed to the continued reform and modernisation of the JCA, which she said can become a model national agency and a global leader, emphasising that “it can be done, [and] it will be done.”

She further stated that the current perception that Customs administration is a hindrance to trade must be eliminated and that Jamaica Customs must embrace a “culture of trade facilitation,” underpinned by effective border management and revenue optimisation, as the Agency must assume the role of adding value to the logistics and supply chain process, as it seeks to meet the needs of its clients and stakeholders, in a timely and effective manner.

 

Raising the Bar in Customer Service Delivery

In her message, the new Commissioner also highlighted the importance for the Agency to maintain excellent customer service delivery at all points, and for employees to be “customer-centric, efficient and professional.”  

She applauded employees for their commitment to the principles of hard work and dedication, while maintaining ethical standards and practices, even as she emphasised that “unprofessionalism, inefficiency, unethical conduct, and low productivity…will not be tolerated.” In this regard, she urged all employees to ensure that their work ethic and attitude, supports the vision and overall goals and objectives of the Agency.

 

 

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #20

Customs House Weekly Series #20

 

Let us welcome Mrs. Velma Ricketts Walker
Our New CEO/Commissioner of Customs


Mrs. Walker is certainly not new to Jamaica Customs, as she first entered the doors of the Agency as a Trainee in 1999.  She rose through the ranks, and in 2011, she served as Assistant Commissioner, Compliance and Enforcement.

She has over 17 years experience in Customs Administration, Trade Facilitation, Risk Analysis, Strategic Planning, International Trade, Security, Compliance and Enforcement. 

Before returning as Commissioner,  Mrs. Walker was employed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as Revenue Administration Advisor, where she assisted regional Customs Administrations with the development and strengthening of their risk management programmes and organisational strategic reform. She is an IMF certified and trained Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool (TADAT) Assessor.

 

 

 

Customs House Weekly Series #19

Customs House Weekly Series #19

Jamaica Customs Re-launches Website:
‘Live Chat’ to Enhance Customer Service Delivery


 

 

Visitors and customers visiting the re-launched website of the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), now have the opportunity to engage with, and interact directly with the Agency’s Customer Service Representatives via ‘Live Chat’, an online communication channel.

The use of the ‘Live Chat’ communication platform forms part of the Agency’s strategic focus to improve its customer service delivery, as clients can now make enquiries and receive responses from the JCA’s Customer Service Representatives, in real time. The feature also allows customers to leave messages, which are routed as emails to representatives, for follow-up.

The ‘Live Chat’ feature will augment the Agency’s general email channels, namely: public.relations@jacustoms.gov.jm, quick.response@jacustoms.gov.jm which customers currently use to make enquiries, lodge complaints or provide comments.  You may also contact the Customer Service Team at: 922-5140-8, extensions 3148, 3149, 3009 or 3497.

Also, in train for implementation on the website, is a Duty Calculator, which will allow customers to calculate their estimated charges for duties and taxes, on items being imported.

Among other things, visitors to the JCA’s website can find information covering:

  • Daily (Foreign) Exchange Rate
  • Import and Export Procedures  
  • Transshipment Procedures
  • Trade Agreements
  • CARICOM Imports
  • Motor Vehicle Imports
  • Barrel Clearances
  • Customs and Related Laws
  • Valuation Procedures
  • News Stories and Newsletters
  • Upcoming Auctions

Users of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA World) will continue to access this portal via the JCA’s website.

 

 

 

Pages

About us

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

Follow Us