Business

Customs will continue to transform through automation

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

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A key agency in border protection and an important player in the global supply chain and logistics process, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) will continue to seek ways to expand its capabilities and improve its efficiencies.

The global space is today, much more advanced technologically, and it is imperative that the JCA adopts the relevant automated systems for greater value creation and service delivery that will seek to accelerate us in the right direction.

The JCA is aware that the world moves with great speed with the utilisation of information communication technology (ICT), the Fourth Industrial Revolution and emerging technological breakthroughs such as the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data analysis and robotics, coupled with wide and growing mobile usage and internet penetration, and as such, we must ensure security of cross-border trade, through the automated environment.

Our clients are now demanding even faster and more efficient service, by simply using the click of a button, and, businesses too – both local and international — have adopted new approaches in serving their own customers. In this respect, we must ensure that we are ready and able to meet their needs. The emergence and growth of e-commerce, for instance, has signalled to us the need to operate in more dynamic ways.

Additionally, the JCA and other border regulatory agencies, in demonstrating coordinated border management in an electronic environment, will be implementing the electronic single window in 2021, that will benefit our traders. This system will allow for the single submission of information by traders along with the electronic exchange of information and delivery of services.

The JCA continues to ensure greater security of the supply chain with our World Customs Organisation (WCO) accredited programme – Authorised Operator Economic (AEO) Programme — which is geared towards encouraging greater compliance and mutual trust and transparency of our traders, who have benefitted significantly from the faster and smoother clearance of their cargo.

Of note, is that tied to automation is the application of a risk-based approach in line with our service standards and charter. The need to mitigate risk is embedded within the dynamic environment within which we operate, which keeps us agile in our transformational pursuits.

Of significance, is that the JCA, in collaboration with its partners, completed the development of the new Customs Act (2019) which was tabled in Parliament in June 2019. It must be noted that the current Customs Act (1941) remains in effect (law) until the new Act (2019) goes through the required parliamentary processes, and is passed and gazetted.

The new Act has retained some of the substantive provisions of its predecessor, even as it incorporates several new provisions geared towards trade facilitation and international best practices. Additionally, the area of risk-based compliance and selectivity in Customs processing or treatment has also been included.

Provisions have also been crafted with respect to advance rulings, inward and outward processing, and an expansion of commercial opportunities for stakeholders with respect to the warehousing regimes, among other provisions that would be indicative of Jamaica as a logistics and commercial hub. Importantly, the language of the new Act has been simplified and modernised to facilitate ease of understanding by the general public.

The Jamaica Customs Agency will continue to work with its various partners, towards achieving the country's national development goals, which seek to make Jamaica “the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business”.


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