JCA revamps arrangements for people importing personal shipments

JCA revamps arrangements for people importing personal shipments

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

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The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has revamped the arrangements for people importing personal shipments valued up to US$5,000 to involve the mandatory use of the entity's Express Clearance Process (ECP) facility.

The JCA's chief information officer (CIO), André Williams, says the arrangements now see cargo consolidators, e-commerce couriers, and freight forwarders administering the declarations and other associated procedures for this category of imports, on behalf of their clients.

He said that the procedure covers items packaged or containerised in barrels, boxes, and skids, which are either ordered traditionally, for example over the telephone or using paper-based forms, or online.

They, however, exclude motor vehicles, which, the CIO points out, are categorised as commercial items requiring licensed customs brokers to undertake the clearance processes.

Williams says the new dispensation represents a modification of the previous arrangements, which saw customs officers doing declarations after inspecting such packages, and verification of other supporting documents.

He said that the officers' administration of declarations was deemed inconsistent with international best practices and standards governing the activities of customs authorities, thus resulting in the modification.

The CIO explains that the ECP, which became mandatory on May 11, 2020, requires customs brokers, cargo consolidators, couriers, and freight forwarders to complete and submit the declaration on behalf of importers and, thereafter, furnish the client with the requisite documents to facilitate inspection of cargo at the varying public bonded warehouses situated at the ports and off-dock facilities.

He adds that on completing the inspection and other attendant activities, the goods are handed over to the client.

Williams further stated that importers also have the option of having the agent complete the overall process on their behalf, including delivery of the goods.

“Either arrangement can be made… based on the level of preference by the importer,” he indicates.

He pointed out that the new arrangements are intended to simplify and expedite the process, noting that “what we are seeing, since the implementation, is an average of one to two hours being saved, in terms of the overall execution of duties, and completing the clearance process”.

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