The Trade Board Limited is now having challenges with the Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT), which has resulted in a delay for the processing of import permits via the portal.
JSWIFT is a platform designed by the Jamaica Customs Agency to facilitate cross-border trade by enabling the electronic submission of documents through a single point. As such, it allows for the exchange of information between the trade and the regulatory agencies with little to no hassle.
In a response to queries from the Jamaica Observer, Acting Trade Administrator and CEO of the Trade Board Althea Matthews disclosed that the delay was "due to technical issues" the extent of which were undetermined "as work is ongoing to assess".
As a result of the delay, the approval process for import permits has increased from three working days to five days.
"The JSWIFT team at the Jamaica Customs Agency is aware of these challenges and is working assiduously to resolve the matter in the shortest possible time," a release from the agency outlined.
"The Trade Board Limited sincerely apologises for the inconvenience that this delay may have caused. We crave your patience and understanding while we work with the JWIFT team to resolve the problem," it continued.
Matthews, however, encourages importers to apply for permits, notwithstanding the delay, as they will still receive approval.
When asked if the delay in processing the import permits will create a backlog at Jamaica's ports, Matthews said that such an occurrence would be highly unlikely "based on the fact that an importer must receive a valid import permit before shipment".
Since June 2020, the Trade Board Limited has migrated most of its transactional services to the JSWIFT platform, which allows individuals to apply for import permits/certification remotely.
"As a result, applications are no longer done manually in office or on the former electronic system that was housed at The Trade Board Limited â€“ the Trade Board Information System (TBIS)," Matthews informed the Observer.
Moreover, she said that since importers are aware that they ought to receive a permit before the "shipment of a licensable commodity", they should schedule their shipments accordingly.
As detailed in the 2014 Motor Vehicle Import Policy, "on no account should the shipment of any item subject to import licensing by the Trade Board Limited be made prior to the importer acquiring a valid import licence from the Trade Board Limited", the CEO stated.