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Ja, US to enter into new bilateral customs agreement

Published:Wednesday | April 3, 2019 | 12:00 AMJerome Reynolds/Assistant News Editor - Online

The Jamaican and United States (US) governments are expected to this year sign off on a new bilateral customs mutual-assistance agreement.

The agreement will provide a legal framework for the exchange of trade information between US and Jamaican customs agencies, explained the US Department of State in its 2019 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.

“[The agreement], in the long term, will assist in targeting the flow of drugs, guns, and other contraband through US and Jamaican ports of entry,” the report said, adding that some progress was made towards finalising the agreement in 2018.

The department said that the agreement is still under review by the Jamaican Government and is not expected to be signed and take effect until 2019.

It disclosed that in 2018, Jamaica ended an existing non-binding memorandum of understanding previously used to share intercepted information on the basis that it did not meet the legal framework required under the Jamaican Constitution.

The State Department underscored that the absence of a formal agreement to share intercepted information has hampered US investigations in some areas.

“The United States and Jamaica are currently in negotiations to find a way forward to reaching a mutually agreeable mechanism to restore this long-standing area of cooperation between both ­governments,” the report said.