- The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) on Monday, July 28, launched its revamped authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programme, which is aimed at protecting the country’s borders and revenue.
- 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 Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) on Monday, July 28, launched its revamped authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programme, which is aimed at protecting the country’s borders and revenue.
Part of the World Customs Organization’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.
At the launching ceremony held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton said that 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.
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 timeframes; 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-centered economy, the AEO will play a key role, the Minister 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 fulfill 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.
Major Reese commended the brokers, exporters and importers “who took time to consult, make suggestions, recommendations and go through the process of getting all their security requirements approved to be a part of the programme”.
He noted that currently, 186 applications for membership in the programme have been received from companies that were part of the programme prior to the revamp. As at July 2014, a total of 28 companies have already undergone validation exercises.
The programme was redesigned with assistance from the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Promote, Renew, Invigorate, Develop, and Energize (PRIDE) Jamaica.
An AEO is either an individual or a company (manufacturer, importer, exporter, agent, transporter, intermediary, port, airport, warehouse, distributor or other entity), that plays a part in the international movement of merchandise, to whom the customs administration has granted a status of confidence in the processing of its customs operations, granting benefits in the form of a series of privileges.