Press Release

$3M DOLLARS WORTH OF COCAINE SEIZED AT SANGSTER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

As Jamaica’s chief border protection entity, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) continues to make dents in the illicit drug trade, following the seizure of sixteen (16) packages of cocaine at the Sangster International Airport during the course of this week.

The seizure took place on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, by officers from the JCA’s Contraband Enforcement Team (CET) and from the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Narcotics Division, during a routine scanning operation of outbound cargo.

The examination revealed packages of cocaine weighing 2.18 kg concealed in eight (8) tins of Jack Mackerel with an estimated street value of JMD$3,117,400.00. Two (2) persons have been arrested in conjunction with the seizure.

The matter is currently being investigated by the Border Protection Unit of the Jamaica Customs Agency and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

This week’s find, follows on the heels of a seizure at the Port of Kingston, on November 02, 2018, which saw the confiscation of fifteen packages of marijuana weighing 1,156.2 lbs with an estimated street value of five million dollars JMD$5,781,000.00.

 

 

 

Jamaica Customs Offers Clarity on the Importation of Mobile Phones

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is Jamaica’s principal border management entity, and its core mission of facilitating trade, optimising revenue collection and delivering high quality customer service, underpins the necessity for the Agency to conform to international best practices that govern Customs administrations worldwide.

As a core mandate, the Agency collects gazetted duties and taxes on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, on goods imported into the country. These gazetted duties and taxes are applied according to the First Schedule of the Customs Act (The Customs Tariff (Revision) (Amendment) Resolution, 2018), and other legislation such as the General Consumption Tax (GCT) Act and the Stamp Duty Act.

The JCA is also guided by international instruments of the World Customs Organization (WCO), as it relates to the classification of goods, such as the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System.

With respect to recent comments in the media, including social media, the Agency is reminding all importers that the duty structure on mobile telephones, whether purchased or gifted, is as follows:

  • Import Duty - 20%
  • General Consumption Act - 25%
  • Environmental Levy - 0.5%
  • Standard Compliance Fee - 0.3%

The above charges are calculated on the Cost, Insurance & Freight (CIF) value.  A Customs Administrative Fee (CAF) is also applicable to the clearance of goods.

Passengers, eighteen years and older, are reminded of their US$500 allowance that is given on all personal effects and household items.

The Agency continues to improve its customer service mechanisms, and implores customers to report all complaints, make queries, or give their feedback at the various online platforms available, including by email at: quick.response@jacustoms.gov.jm or public.relations@jacustoms.gov.jm; the Agency’s website at: www.jacustoms.gov.jm via Live Chat and the Customer Relationship & Feedback Platform. Customers may also call the Public Relations & Customer Service Unit at 876-922-5140-8; toll free 1-888-287-8667; or 876-948-7849.  

 

 

 

Jamaica Customs Agency Introduces “Express Cargo Clearance Process”

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is advising its customers and stakeholders that effective Monday, October 29, 2018, the entity is introducing its Express Cargo Clearance Procedure (ECCP) for the processing of personal (non-commercial) shipments.  This initiative will facilitate a more simplified process for the clearance of personal shipments with a value (Cost, Insurance & Freight - (CIF) below US$5000.00.

Express Cargo Clearance Process
Importers can authorise Clearing Agents (Consolidators, Freight Forwarders or Licensed Customs Brokers) to prepare, submit and pay for a Simplified Declaration (IMS4). The responsible Clearing Agents will now be allowed to complete the entire Customs clearance formalities, including delivery of the cargo/goods to the consignee, upon request.

Convenient Payment Options
Payment can be made at any Customs Office, including any of the offices where the goods are physically located. To maintain efficiency, Agents are encouraged to utilise the pre-payment/advance deposit account facility.

Benefits of ECCP

  •  Importers/Consignees, Declarants will spend significantly less time at the Ports.
  • A Simplified Declaration is submitted in advance to Customs, which results in speedier processing.
  • Agents and Customs Brokers can pay immediately upon submission from their offices, using the Advance Deposit payment option.
  • Authorised Agents or representatives can satisfy all Customs formalities, including paying duties and clearing shipments for their clients.

Importers or their representatives must verify that a Simplified Declaration is complete and accurate. Where Declarations are found to be incomplete, erroneous, false or in need of amendment, the normal Customs procedures and requirements will apply.

The Jamaica Customs Agency remains committed to its mandate of trade facilitation and continue to improve its business processes, in an effort to optimise efficiency and enhance client services.

For further information on Express Cargo Clearance, you may contact the JCA’s ‘Help Desk’ at e-mail: awinfo@jacustoms.gov.jm; Live Chat @ www.jacustoms.gov.jm; Telephone: 876-922-5140 extensions: 3030, 3126, 3127, 3133 or 876-750-3030.

 

 

 

Jamaica Customs – Makes Strides in Key Areas of Governance: Surpasses Revenue Targets in first two quarters of 2018/19 FY

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) stands firmly on its motto: “Country Above Self” and its core values of Customer-centricity, Accountability, Professionalism, Integrity and Transparency (CAPIT), and remains committed to its mandates of facilitating trade, protecting Jamaica’s borders and collecting revenue on behalf of the Government of Jamaica.

The JCA has sought ways to improve its overall efficiency as a public sector entity and has invested resources in several areas within the Agency, in order to improve its business and operational processes, and border protection capabilities, with the goal of achieving greater compliance in all areas.

The Agency also recognises that enhancing compliance is critical to protecting the nation’s purse and has instituted several mechanisms in support of this, to include improving its ICT capabilities (ASYCUDA World), allowing for greater accountability and transparency; expanding its trade facilitation initiatives; strengthening its internal assurance mechanisms in all areas of governance; and transforming the Agency’s legislative framework, as it pertains to the repealing and replacement of the Customs Act.

 

Revenue Collection

An Executive Agency since 2013, the JCA prides itself in being the second largest revenue collector for the Government and continues to play its part in keeping the economic wheels of Jamaica turning. Currently, the JCA contributes approximately thirty eight percent (38%) of the Government’s tax revenue.

At the end of the second quarter (April – September) of the fiscal year (FY) 2018/19, the JCA’s revenue outturn stood at $111.316B. This was approximately one point seven percent (1.7%) or $1.843B above the targeted collection of $109.472B, and ten percent (10%) or $9.709B over the previous year’s collection of $101.607B. In the last fiscal year, the Agency successfully collected $207.848B, surpassing the target by $0.075B or 0.04%. 

 

Trade Facilitation

Jamaica operates in a global space and must remain competitive in order that the country can continue to improve its performance ranking, regionally and internationally. Therefore implementing initiatives that are geared towards effective trade facilitation continues to be a major thrust for the JCA.  The Agency is cognisant of the need for the ease of flow of goods and passengers at the country’s borders which will result in a reduction of processing time and associated costs.

The JCA in addition to several Border Regulatory Agencies (BRAs) will benefit from the implementation of an Electronic Single Window (ESW) which will allow for the single submission of information by traders via an electronic gateway to all trade related and cross border government agencies, instead of submitting the same information multiple times to different government agencies. The ESW project started on August 2, 2018 and is expected to be completed within thirty six (36) months.

In addition, the JCA has been undertaking several initiatives to reduce the clearance time for goods and passengers, some of which include:

  1. Collaboration with Border Regulatory Agencies, ports and warehouse keepers in improving efficiencies at the port.
  2. Implementation of an Express Cargo Clearance Process (ECCP) which is a simplified process for clearing small personal shipments from the ports and public bonded facilities.
  3. Piloting of flexible working shifts to facilitate declaration processing on a twenty-four (24) hour basis for several categories of goods.
  4. Sensitisation sessions to the private sector on the benefits of the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme which is geared towards compliant traders. This allows for expedited declaration processing and clearance of goods with little to no physical inspection of cargo.
  5. Conducting tours and ‘walkthroughs’ of companies, manufacturing plants and operational areas to better understand their business operations to facilitate ease of doing business with the JCA.
  6. Expansion of the “Nothing to Declare” channels at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) to allow for the speedier flow of passengers.

 

Legislative Transformation

The proposed new Customs legislation will retain some of the provisions of the current Act and will introduce 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, which is slated to be tabled in Parliament come March 31, 2019.

The new Act will allow for:

  1. Improved transparency – use of modern terms will increase the ease with which the legislation is read and understood.
  2. Improved dispute resolution – provision of administrative appeal processes for all Customs decisions.
  3. Increased predictability – introduction of binding advance rulings.
  4. Increased facilitation for compliance with Customs processes – persons with a record of compliance will benefit from added facilitation.

 

Compliance

It is crucial that the public has confidence in the integrity of the Agency, and as such, the JCA has instituted several anti-corruption measures to ensure transparency and accountability in all areas of governance. Among some of these measures are:

  • The security vetting of all Customs employees.
  • The establishment of Investigative Units (Investigation Unit, Internal Affairs Unit)
  • A structured rotation system for Customs Officials.
  • The Implementation of the Customs Automated System, allowing for transaction traceability.
  • The collaboration with other government entities in combating fraudulent activities.

With a highly trained and committed staff, the JCA will continue to play its part in undertaking its mandates and functions effectively, in keeping with Vision 2030: National Development Plan, where Jamaica will not only be the place of choice to live, work and raise families, but to also do business.

 

 

Online shopping hassle - Cheats causing Customs to demand in-person office visits to verify invoices

Jamaica Gleaner
Published:
Monday | July 30, 2018 
Carlene Davis/Gleaner Writer

 

The Jamaica Customs Agency is standing behind its decision to demand that persons come into its offices to provide electronic verification of the amount that they have paid for goods they order online.

Several persons have complained about the hassle of going into a customs office to log into whatever account they used to purchase the goods to prove the legitimacy of their online receipts.

But acting deputy commissioner of the Jamaica Customs Agency, Kirk Benjamin, in an interview with The Gleaner, said they instituted the check because persons have been trying to beat the system by producing fictitious receipts.

According to Benjamin, until they start receiving the receipts electronically, from the sellers overseas, that is the best option.

"You might get an item, and this item would normally sell for US$100, but you got it for US$30, now you might not have an invoice that's in the shipment, because from time to time, persons say it's a gift. So we ask that you come, and open the account to prove.

"There are times when we find that persons submit false invoices. It's something we grapple with every day, people trying to beat the system," said Benjamin.

Among the persons who complained to our newsroom was Dmitri Dawkins, who describe this process as "a grand waste of time".

He told The Gleaner that he got a 70 per cent deal on a tent, which made the item less than US$50, which is the limit that you can purchase an item for online without attracting customs duty.

According to Dawkins, he was surprised when the courier service he used called him to say that the item was flagged at Customs for additional processing.

"Customs said despite my providing an invoice, that it couldn't verify that price online anywhere. The courier service attempted to clear it multiple times and then advised me that I would have to go to Customs to provide proof of legitimacy by logging into my Amazon account. I found this ridiculous," said Dawkins.

 

 

Customs urges closing of ranks to topple corruption

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Jamaica Observer, Sunday, July 29, 2018


Commissioner of Customs, Velma Ricketts Walker, emphasises the importance of State agencies working together to stamp out corruption at the island’s ports.

Commissioner of Customs, Velma Ricketts Walker emphasises the importance of State agencies working together to stamp out corruption at the island’s ports.

Commissioner of Customs Velma Ricketts Walker says that all agencies of the State involved in customs administration and border protection must continue to close ranks to stamp out corruption, as this should not only be seen as a customs issue but a national imperative.

“Criminals work together, so we have to ensure that we are a step ahead of them and collaborate accordingly to prevent these things. While there must be accountability, the blame game sometimes doesn't help — sometimes it worsens the situation, and that is why our approach at Customs is to work with and together with the other entities to get it right,” the chief executive officer stated in a Jamaica Observer interview on the ramping up of mechanisms at the Jamaica Customs Agency to tighten internal control, border protection, and ultimately help bolster national security.

Ricketts Walker said that while Customs often bears the brunt of accusations about corruption or misconduct, the public must become cognisant of the fact that keeping the ports secure is the responsibility of multiple other agencies, not just Customs.

She pointed to the container of counterfeit cigarettes valued at more than $400 million, which the police seized at a house in St James in mid-June, as an example of a breach for which the blame was laid squarely at the feet of Customs. “The cigarette container that left the port was a trans-shipment container. That container had no business on the road. It's a container that came from X country and should find itself in another country. The fact that it left tells us that there is indeed weaknesses within the system… which we have already identified and flagged,” she said.

“Port-wise (internal collusion) is a very difficult thing to deal with because it's about people. You're unable to know who are the persons involved. While Customs ensures that there is a certain level of vetting, we have to also ensure that the other areas that operate on the port are mandated to do such vetting of their staff as well, and that that vetting is ongoing,” she said.

The Customs commissioner added that the agency also has to ensure that the technology other stakeholders use, is also reliable to offer a certain level of assurance as well.

“We have found ourselves in a position where we are the entity being blamed, (and) I do understand that because when persons go to the port or the point of clearance their last interface most times is with Customs, so we become that face. We have to ensure that since we are the ones being blamed that we play an even greater role in ensuring that the security apparatus is within the port system and the all other warehouses that we operate. That is one of the things that we have been working on, to ensure that partnership and coordination is there and even go beyond that and be enforcers to ensure that things are done the right and proper way to prevent these things from happening,” Ricketts Walker outlined.

Director of Cargo Imaging,Kingsley Henry made the point also that along with its law enforcement partners, Customs has made significant strides in detecting illegal or corrupt activities. “One thing we can tell you is that our systems work and had it not been, for example, the policy of 100 per cent scanning, we can confidently say that our situation in terms of illicit items entering the country would be far greater,” he stated.

At the same time, he noted that the port environment is not perfect. “What happens within the large space of the port with all the different players (is) there is the issue of collusion. Corruption isn't a customs issue, it is a national issue that we have so all the players on the ports and the port environment would be subjected to the same influences that our officers would be subjected to. So people in organised crime, for example, would be able to find their way around and through the mechanisms that you have,” he elaborated.

Meanwhile, he said there is now a policy of 100 per cent scanning of domestic import and export containers. However, he said that it is still not logistically possible to scan trans-shipment containers. “If you take for example Kingston Freeport Terminal the trans-shipment volumes may be anywhere between 1.5 and 2.5 million per year, so what we have to rely on is intelligence coming from Customs administration and other law enforcement agencies,” he explained, adding that the agency is developing a project to acquire the most modern scanning technology.

Director of Internal Affairs at the agency, Tameka Goulbourne stressed also that staff are being sensitised about corruption, and the consequences, on an ongoing basis. She said the feedback has been positive and that in fact with a better understanding of what constitutes corruption, more staff have been reporting misconduct.

At the same time, Ricketts Walker made clear that under its anti-corruption strategy, Customs will be coming for corrupt individuals.

She argued that while the agency is often lambasted about corruption, and has taken significant steps to mitigate corruption, those who seek to bribe agents of the State must also be held accountable. “We do not want a Jamaica where persons think it is an easy thing to come and make any advance to corrupt our officers. If that is found out, then there also will be a mechanism to highlight that to Jamaica — it doesn't matter who that individual is,” she said.

 

 

 

JCA Wins 2018 WCO Photo Competition

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), and by extension Jamaica and the Caribbean Region, copped the WCO 2018 Photo Competition, held on June 30, in Brussels, Germany. The JCA snatched the coveted award from a pool of sixty (63) entrants from around the globe. The award was presented to our Commissioner, at the 132nd Session of the Customs Cooperation Council Meeting.

See our winning photo below. Also see link to view all the entries.

 

TITLE: Jamaica “Customs in Action”: Facilitating Trade, Protecting Our People, Building Our Country


The Customs Officers of the Jamaica Customs Agency are the epitome of our motto “Country Above Self,” driven by our core values of Customer Service, Accountability, Professionalism, Integrity and Transparency (CAPIT). Whether large or small, industrialized or rustic, the Jamaica Customs Agency seeks to ensure that all our stakeholders, enjoy efficient and friendly service, within a secure business environment.

 

The Agency continues to relentlessly protect Jamaica’s borders from illegal trading, while ably keeping the economic wheels of our country turning, ultimately contributing to our National Development Goal of making “Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.”

 

 

 

Jamaica Customs Quells “Fake Rice” News Making Rounds in Social Media

In keeping with a statement,  appearing in social media spaces recently, pertaining to the importation of contaminated rice in Jamaica, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is advising the public that the Agency has no proof that the rice referred to in the statement, has come through Jamaica’s controlled ports/borders (Customs).

In the meantime, the JCA is urging members of the public, that if they have evidence or proof that this product is present in Jamaica, or is being sold on the market, to bring to the attention of the Agency, and the regulatory agencies within the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF).

The JCA assures all our stakeholders that we remain committed to protecting our country, people and environment, epitomized in our motto “Country Above Self.” 

 

 

 

Disruption of ePayment Services

The JCA wishes to advise that our ePayment Services will be taken offline for urgent maintenance. Until the service has been fully restored, we request that you make use of alternative means of payment for the further processing of your declarations by the Agency.  

Please note payments can be tendered at the nearest Customs Cashier using the Point of Sale terminals in this regard.  

The option of RTGS allowing direct funds transfer may also be used with the completion and submission of the attached form. The instructions for use are as follows:

1.     Amount Transferred must be equal to the TOTAL OF ALL ENTRIES LISTED (only for Commercial Entries).

2.     Payments that are successfully submitted will be processed and the transaction records will be updated for further processing.

3.     Payments submitted after banking hours may be reflective the next day which will thereafter be processed. 

4.     After successful transfer of funds from your account, complete and E-mail the copy of the Direct Payment Advice Form to directpayment@jacustoms.gov.jm along with your confirmation receipt.

Please call our Revenue Accounts Unit for further details or verification at 948-5151 or 922-5140-8 for use of these payment options.

We are aware that there are outstanding payments that are not reconciled and we are in the process of fixing those. The JCA apologizes for any inconvenience caused and will be working assiduously to restore services for start of business day tomorrow June 19, 2019.

Please note the The Customs Management System (ASYCUDA) is not affected and is functional.

 

 

 

 

Jamaica Customs Reminds Charity Organisations of Procedures for Clearing Charitable Items

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) recognises the contribution and crucial role charitable organisations play in the development of Jamaica, and the ease at which they do business with the entity, is in keeping with the Agency’s mandate to facilitate trade through the implementation of efficient and effective processes.

Noting a newspaper article dated Sunday, June 10, 2018, entitled: Customs red tape chokes charity event for infants, the blind’, the JCA is reminding all charities, foundations and individuals, of the requirements and procedures for clearing charitable items. In this regard, 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. A Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC) is required for clearing all shipments.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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. 

Additionally, 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 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 pertaining to the shipment

Charities or persons authorised to effect clearance, are also being reminded that as at November 1, 2017, they should proceed directly to the Port of Clearance to undertake same, and not to “Customs House” as was previously the case. This is in keeping with the Agency’s thrust to improve its operational processes and procedures to the benefit of all customers.

 

 

 

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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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