JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Customs Agency is currently in the process of amending sections of the Customs Act and Regulations.
  • Manager of Revenue Accounts at Jamaica Customs, Kirk Benjamin, says the Act and the Regulation were both out dated.
  • Jamaica Customs has recommended that Section 23 of the Free Zone Act be amended.

Jamaica Customs Amending Its Governing Laws

The Jamaica Customs Agency is currently in the process of amending sections of the Customs Act and Regulations in an effort to bring it in line with international best practices and standards.

Manager of Revenue Accounts at Jamaica Customs, Kirk Benjamin, says the Act and the Regulation were both out dated.

“The Jamaica Customs Agency operates within the ambit of the law and, as such, it is imperative that the Ministry of Finance and our political directorate move with alacrity to get these laws amended,” Mr. Benjamin says.

He was speaking at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) seminar on the implications of the transshipment hub on the customs brokerage profession held on March 12.

He further commented that Jamaica Customs has recommended that Section 23 of the Free Zone Act be amended.

“Currently this section says that cargo entering a free zone must be owned by the free zone operator. But in order for a logistics hub to work, then the operators must be allowed to take in goods that are not owned by them,” Mr. Benjamin stated.

He added that logistics hubs across the world operate as a special economic hub and  free zone.

“In order for you to add value, you have to take in cargo from different persons. It makes no sense that we should have a law on the books that you must own the cargo because no one is going to give ownership of their cargo over to someone else,” Mr. Benjamin noted.

He further commented that the advent of the logistics hub initiative is very timely for Jamaica Customs as the agency is currently undergoing extensive modernization, which will result in a total revamping of the Customs Act and Regulations.

“This means that the law will have to cover the full operations of the logistics hub and ensure that trade facilitation is a must,” he stated.

He added that Jamaica Customs recently signed a contract with a draftsman to expedite the amendments to the legislation.

The Logistics Hub initiative is being spearheaded by the Government of Jamaica in an effort to position the island as the fourth major node in the global supply and logistics chain. This is intended to enable the country to take advantage of an anticipated increase in maritime activity, consequent on the expansion of the Panama Canal.