Press Release

Jamaica Customs Advisory to Industry Partners & Clients

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is cognisant of the intermittent disruptions and resulting delays that our customers have been experiencing with the Automated Customs Management System. The Agency extends sincere apologies to our valued clients and business partners while we enhance our automated environment towards improved service delivery and user experience.

We wish to inform you that the JCA has undertaken activities to effect additional counter and corrective measures having identified some root cause resulting in the interruptions while we complete a comprehensive review and verification. We are actively working with our local and overseas service providers and having expended additional resources to resolve our issues.

In the coming days it is expected that maintenance works may be necessary during your normal working hours. We are asking for your anticipated understanding for such interruptions which are unavoidable as we make improvements in the various components of the system.

The Agency will be issuing further advisory regarding our progress in this matter as we continue with the improvements of the automated system. Read more...

 

 

Jamaica Customs Will Facilitate Extended Opening Hours at Seaport

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is advising its customers and stakeholders that it will be facilitating the clearance of containers at the Port of Kingston, for as long as the Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL) remains opened for business.

This facilitation is in keeping with efforts to clear the back log of containers, which occurred as a result of recent strikes by haulage contractors and operators, who have since resumed duties at the Terminal.

The Jamaica Customs Agency is assuring its stakeholders that it is collaborating and working with the KFTL, its partners, and border agencies to effectively reduce and ultimately clear the back log of containers at the Port.

Read more...

 

 

 

Jamaica Customs Apologises for Clearance Delays

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) wishes to apologise for the delays and inconvenience experienced by our valued customers as a result of the interruptions of service from our internet service provider.

Please be advised that the JCA is working with the internet service provider to rectify the situation.

The JCA wishes to express our sincere appreciation to Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) and other operators for extending their operation hours until 7:00 p.m. today.

The JCA sincerely regrets the negative impact this interruption caused, and is working assiduously to facilitate your clearance.

Read more...

 

 

 

 

US Dept of Homeland Security hosts Regional IPR Enforcement Seminar

On July 25-27 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the United States Department of Homeland Security in collaboration with the Intellectual Property Rights Center will host a regional training seminar on how to better enforce Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

The goal of this training is to bring together regional partners to collaborate on identifying, disrupting, and dismantling transnational criminal organizations, which benefit financially from the illicit IPR trade.  Participants in the training will be law enforcement  professionals with direct involvement in the investigation of suspected IPR crimes, including officials from Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic.

The seminar will explore a wide range of topics including intellectual property theft, organized crime, health risks associated with counterfeit pharmaceuticals and tobacco, IPR enforcement strategies, and prosecutorial case development. Training will be led by criminal investigators from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security along with trade industry representatives. 

Speakers at the event will include the U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d’ Affaires, Eric Khant, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s/Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Director International Operations Ray Villanueva, the Jamaican Ministry of National Security’s  Chief Technical Director, Rohan Richards, and the Commissioner of Customs, Velma Ricketts-Walker.

 

Source: http://www.loopjamaica.com/content/us-dept-homeland-security-hosts-regional-ipr-enforcement-seminar

 

Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference

The Jamaica Customs Agency is a Proud Stakeholder in this national event!

Preparations are in high gear for the upcoming Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference from 23-27 July 2017, the official event that precedes this year’s exciting Jamaica 55 Independence activities. Our agency will be offering fast tracked special services as a “Government At Your Service” featured Agency in the Conference’s three day Marketplace.

We are looking forward to warmly welcoming members of the Diaspora to Jamaica, for what will be an informative and invigorating conference and a diverse programme comprised of planned discussions, an exposition, church services, special hospitality and cultural events and culminating, with the Diaspora Day of Service. To support preparations and planning, kindly see attached the Jamaica 55 Conference Fact Sheet. Details shared in the document include:

  • Registration Options and Procedures
  • Official Hotels, Discounts offered and Conference Codes for Booking
  • Air Travel Discount offered and Conference Codes for Booking

Please visit the conference website at www.mfaft.gov.jm/conference or contact the Conference Secretariat at dca@mfaft.gov.jm  if you should require any further information.

Fact Sheet Link – http://mfaft.gov.jm/conference/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Fact-Sheet_Ja55DiasporaConference_At10MAY.pdf

 

 

 

Jamaica Advance Cargo Information Seminar

Commissioner of Customs, Mrs. Velma Ricketts Walker, addressed the opening of the Jamaica Advance Cargo Information Seminar, involving the Jamaica Customs Agency, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

This collaboration will ensure:

  • Customs operations are modernised through the removal of a paper environment
  • Border security is enhanced through improved risk assessment
  • Full compliance with customs regulations is facilitated in advance of cargo arrival
  • Pre-assessment and less intrusive methods of inspection, increasing the throughput of cargo clearance

For Trade:

  • Airlines, freight forwarders, shippers and border agencies in over 90 countries will  ‘talk’ the same digital language
  • Consistency in Cargo Manifest Declaration from all agents and consolidators to the Agency
  • Communication across the supply chain is consistent and simplified

Regional Conference of Customs Directors General for the Americas and the Caribbean Region


CEO/Commissioner of Customs, Mrs. Velma Ricketts Walker, alongside Pedro Miguel Perez Betancourt - Director General Cuba Customs (left) and Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organisation (WCO) at the Regional Conference of Customs Directors General for the Americas and the Caribbean Region, being held in Cuba from May 15-16, 2017.

 

The conference is being held under the theme: "Achieving Customs Excellence through the Regional Strategic Plan"  and encompasses three main regional strategic goals:

To strengthen efficient and coordinated border management that considers both facilitation and security.

To promote the compliance of Customs regulations through the implementation of programmes aligned with international standards.

To develop the capacity of Customs Officers to ensure an efficient and quality service, assuring compliance with the institutional mission of Customs.

 

 

Commissioner of Customs encourages use of Advance Cargo Clearance

The CEO/Commissioner of Customs, Mrs. Velma Ricketts Walker, has reiterated that the use of the Automated Customs Management System, ASYCUDA World, is necessary to achieve greater efficiencies in a modern customs administration.

According to Mrs. Walker, one of the areas in which the Agency 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.

The Commissioner made reference to Article 7 of the World Customs Organisation’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement dealing with Pre-arrival Processing which 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.”

She stated, that among the benefits to be derived from the use of advance manifests, is the ability of our clients to 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 ASYCUDA World, which is 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.

Additionally, the 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.  

Commissioner Walker also indicated that the use of ASYCUDA World has enhanced the Agency’s trade facilitation arm to include, among other things, the:

  • Introduction of a standard electronic Single Administrative Document (eSAD) 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 include:

  • The 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.
  • The E-Payment Facility which enables both exporters and importers to pay duties and fees at their convenience from anywhere in the world.

 The JCA is assuring its customers and stakeholders that it will continue to modernise its operations with a view to improve its operational processes, border protection capabilities and trade facilitation initiatives.

 

 

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, is in keeping with the vision of the Agency.

 

Not New to Customs

Mrs. Walker brings to bear, a wide scope of knowledge and skills in Customs Administration. She first entered the doors of Jamaica Customs 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 served at 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.

 

 

No Cut in Budget for Students’ Loan Bureau

Funding for the Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) for the 2017/18 Financial Year has not been cut.

Based on Budget allocation, the SLB is projected to receive $2.827bn from the Special Education Tax (SET) for FY 2017/18. For the 2016/17 fiscal year, a similar amount ($2.827bn) is projected to be received by the end of March 2017. As a result there is no reduction in funding from the SET. An additional $100mn in grant funds has been pledged by the HEART Trust/NTA for the academic year 2016/17 which does not repeat in FY2017/18.

Finance Minister, the Honourable Audley Shaw, in his Opening Budget Speech for the 2017/18 Financial Year stated that, “the Government of Jamaica recognizes the importance of human capital development and training towards achieving our economic growth targets. To this end… the Students ‘Loan Bureau will be reducing interest rates on loans for selected areas.”

Interest rates on Pay As You Study loans will be reduced from 9.5 percent to 6.0 percent and interest rates on Post Graduate loans will also be lowered from 13.0 percent to 9.5 percent.
Students studying in the areas of Maritime and Logistics, Agriculture and Engineering and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) will also benefit from decline interest rates from 9.5 percent to 6.0 percent.

 

 

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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

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