The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, is looking to table amendments to the Customs Act in Parliament by the end of March 2018.
Minister of State, the Hon. Fayval Williams, said the changes seek to make the rules clearer, heighten enforcement, and equip the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) with the tools to make trade flow more efficient.
She was speaking at a stakeholder consultation to get feedback on the changes at the JCA’s downtown Kingston head office on Friday (Feb. 16).
Among the amendments being proposed are: inclusion of terms from the Custom’s Asycuda system into the legislation; changes in warehousing procedures; changes in enforcement to allow customs officers to be armed; changes to licensing and registration of some stakeholders; inclusion of advance cargo loading notice; as well as modifying the process of discarding goods received by the agency.
Among the stakeholder groups represented at the session were shipping; customs brokers; exporters; airline associations; used car dealers; and government ministries, departments and agencies.
Senior Director, Legal Affairs at JCA, Hazel Edwards, said that “the idea behind all of the reforms is for government, customs, public sector partners, private sector partners to work together to create opportunities and to resolve the difficulties that we are having.”
She said that the agency looks forward to feedback from the various stakeholders.
The agency began consultations including meetings and presentations with stakeholders in late 2017.