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The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has assured importers and exporters in St. James that the modernised Customs Bill slated to be tabled in Parliament next year, will allow stakeholders to conduct business in a more efficient environment.

Senior Legal Officer at the agency, Krystal Corbett, said the legislative reform has become necessary, as aspects of the existing Act do not align with international customs best practices.

She said that the Government has moved to adopt and introduce modern customs practices that will improve the ease of doing business in the 21st century.

“We also have to adopt modern language, and this is in keeping with international agreements, such as the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) safe framework of standards, the revised Kyoto convention, the Arusha declaration, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) trade facilitation agreement,” she noted.

Miss Corbett, who was speaking at a recent one-day sensitisation workshop at the Grandiosa Hotel in Montego Bay, noted that the use of internationally accepted terms and definitions in the Bill will improve Jamaica’s interaction with the global trading community and will facilitate carriers, agents and all industry professionals who operate in the global context.

The draft bill will retain some of the substantive provisions of the current Act and will incorporate several new provisions geared towards trade facilitation and international best practices. The area of risk-based compliance and selectivity in Customs processing or treatment will be part of the new Act.

The proposals in the draft Bill are intended to promote socio-economic development and assist with the creation of the conditions for economic growth; facilitate the efficient processing of Customs-related transactions; aid in protecting local businesses and the international supply chain from unfair trading practices, smuggling of goods, under-invoicing, fraud, and intellectual property rights infringement; encourage voluntary compliance with Customs laws and procedures; and further support the implementation of Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) World.