Jamaica Customs — striking the balance between trade and border protection


Jamaica Customs — striking the balance between trade and border protection

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

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The use of risk management by custom administrations is on the rise globally.

Traditionally, managing risks affecting administrations was ad hoc, largely based on perception and required 100 per cent physical intervention.

However, the increase in international trade and the movement of people across borders, coupled with the need for administrations to be more effective and efficient have contributed to the use of risk management techniques and practices by customs administrations.


The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has strategically incorporated Risk Management as the primary basis for its operations. This approach has aided in maintaining relevance, and has significantly improved the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the Agency.

What is a 'risk' in the JCA context?

The possibility of an event occurring that leads to a breach of the Customs Act/Regulations or any of the related legislation, and as a consequence, exposes the Agency to possible revenue loss or, threatens national security and public safety.

How does the JCA manage risks?

Through the application of Risk Management Techniques and modern practices supported by improved Information Communication Technology (ICT), the JCA is equipped and better able to manage its risks. The implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA World) in 2016 has centralised the Agency's operations and created a coordinated approach to risk management which includes the interest of other Border Regulatory Agencies (BRA).

In realising the vision of a modern Customs Administration, the JCA recognises the importance of striking the delicate balance between border security and trade facilitation.

In creating this balance, the Agency is able to identify and mitigate potential threats, while facilitating legitimate trade and passenger travel. In addition to the Agency's use of risk management, there is also a thrust to create an environment that is agile, innovative and integrated, which will assist in furthering the modernisation initiatives of the JCA.

The Agency continues to work on 'getting it right' through business process re-engineering and utilisation of more sophisticated ICT to tackle the increasingly complex challenges associated with global trade and passenger travel.


• Improved trader compliance with laws and regulations

• Speedy clearance/processing for legitimate traders and passengers. Approximately 80 per cent of commercial cargo is released from JCA controls within 24hrs

• Establishment of recognition programmes for compliant traders such as authorised economic operators (AEO)

• Greater transparency in the Agency's decision making process

• Improved cooperation between traders and the JCA

• Improved Agency efficiency

• Increased stakeholder satisfaction

• Better coordinated activities with other border regulatory agencies (BRA) and

• Improved risk identification, targeting and selectivity.

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