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Customs revamps programme to protect Ja borders, revenue

Wednesday, July 30, 2014    

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THE Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has launched its revamped Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programme aimed at protecting the country's borders and revenue.

Part of the World Customs Organisation's (WCO) framework of standards to secure and facilitate global trade, the AEO is designed to encourage compliance and reduce security risks by certifying all relevant personnel within the importation and exportation chain.

The system rewards compliant economic operators and focuses resources on potentially unsafe and high-risk entities and individuals. The implementation of this system will allow for operators to have a working partnership with Customs, which will improve Customs-to-client relationship, customer service and the business processes of the JCA.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton said the system will serve as a catalyst for improving the ease and speed of doing business and for moving goods or services across borders, therefore boosting the country's competitiveness.

"The ease and speed of doing business has always been one of the greatest inhibitors to international trade. The AEO programmme removes that barrier by operating a system of mutual trust and streamlined customs procedures to accelerate the flow of goods and services across borders," he said during the official launch held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston,

The minister noted that the programme also ensures the integrity of Jamaica's supply and value chain model, which is at the core of the country's economic growth agenda.

"The programme ensures predictability in importation and by extension, production time frames; a critical component to the production process. Trusted importers and exporters can circumvent the lengthy wait between arrival of shipment in the country and actual receipt of goods, not just in Jamaica but in other AEO countries within the European Union and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)," he said.

As Jamaica moves to become a logistics-centred economy, the AEO will play a key role, Hylton said.

This, as it will improve the efficiency of business processes involved in the international movement of goods that will take place in and through the free zones as they evolve into special economic zones, by ensuring that the shipments benefit from faster Customs processing arrangements.

The minister noted that the AEO programme is already in place at the three existing global logistics hubs namely, Dubai, Singapore and Rotterdam, and Jamaica must therefore follow suit to fulfil its ambition of becoming the fourth node in global logistics.

Commissioner of Customs, Major (ret'd) Richard Reese informed that a model of the AEO was first introduced by the then Jamaica Customs Department in 2009.

"In 2012, we commenced the revamping of the programme and last year, we started the first phase of the validation exercise," he said.

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