Sun | Jul 12, 2020

New Customs requirements for clearance of shipments not exceeding US$5,000

Published:Tuesday | May 12, 2020 | 12:05 AM

THE JAMAICA Customs Agency (JCA) has advised that effective Monday, May 11, customs officers are no longer preparing Simplified Declarations (IMS4) for walk-in customers clearing shipments not exceeding US$5,000. The Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) was informed of the change in a letter from the JCA, which states that the new measures are being implemented to protect their employees and all stakeholders in view of the presence and spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Jamaica.

The new regime for clearance of shipments requires all importers, including persons clearing barrels containing personal effects, to use an authorised third party, such as a customs broker, freight forwarder or warehouse operator, to prepare and submit their goods declaration to effect clearance of imported goods.

The public needs to understand that this new Customs measure requires that persons wanting to clear goods must truthfully declare, to the authorised third party acting on their behalf, the contents and value of the items in the shipment as this submission to Customs is legally binding. Also, the public needs to be mindful that authorised third parties set their own rates for clearing imported goods and these rates vary. The services offered also vary, and the importer has the choice of three levels of assistance from authorised third parties:

1. Only the preparation and submission of the Simplified Declarations on behalf of the importer to Customs, in which case the customer will proceed to warehouse to make the requisite payment to Customs and collect the goods after Customs inspection;

2. The preparation and submission of Simplified Declarations, along with payments to Customs on behalf of the importer, in which case the customer will proceed to warehouse to collect the goods after Customs inspection; and

3. The preparation and submission of Simplified Declarations, along with payments to Customs on behalf of the importer, as well as the collection and delivery of the goods from Customs to the customer.

Both the special duty rate for barrels containing only personal goods and household effects and the use of an unaccompanied baggage allowance are still in operation, but the contents should not include goods in commercial quantities or for commercial purposes.

The public is also advised that in using the services of authorised third parties, persons should not attend the offices of these service providers unless they have been notified to do so.