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Processed Food Bill passes in the House

Friday, October 13, 2017

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THE House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the Processed Food (Amendment) Act.

The Bill, which also amends the Processed Food (General) Regulations, was piloted by Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda.

This Bill seeks to remove the requirement for export certificates to facilitate the implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), a web-based system designed to transform the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) into a paperless operation through the use of electronic documents.

In his remarks, Minister Samuda said one of the main objectives of the ASYCUDA system is to harmonise trade procedures and reduce trade barriers.

“Consequently, this objective envisages the incorporation of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica's (BSJ) port-related procedures into the system. The JCA indicated that it could not incorporate the export certificate component of the Processed Food Act into ASYCUDA, and both the JCA and BSJ, having consulted, have jointly recommended the removal of the provisions in the Act relating to requirements for export certificates,” Samuda said.

He noted that the removal of the export certificate provisions will shorten the process for the export of processed food, constitute a positive step towards a more facilitatory regime and bring Jamaica in line with international best practice, which recommended a risk-based approach towards production.

For his part, Opposition spokesperson on industry, investment and competitiveness Peter Bunting noted that “the idea of bringing our export procedures up to international best practice is desirable”.

“It is tidying up something that ideally should have been introduced simultaneously with the ASYCUDA system and, therefore, we do not have any objection, and support this Bill,” he said.

The Bill will be sent to the Senate for its approval.

— JIS

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