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Onerous customs coding to be simplified

| 08/08/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS Business): Responding to continued complaints about the time importers  are spending at the customs department as a result of the new coding system, the government is not only drastically reducing the number of codes but for a small flat fee of $5 customs officers will now take care of the coding for them. At a press briefing Thursday, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that importers can use the same form for declaration of invoices and leave the coding for customs, which will take place in a back office. They can produce this document, pay duty and then walk away, he said, and then customs officers will go through the “tedious exercise” of coding each item.

The customs tariff law passed in April 2012 and came into effect in March this year. McLaughlin said it has now been in place for four months but “the cries are not receding”. He said there have been complaints from the very start regarding the burden and complexity of the system. While change is always resisted, it is clear that the present system still the source of a great deal of anxiety and is taking a great deal of time for completion.

“The objective of the exercise is to ensure that government still has the ability to capture the statistics it needs, but at the same time to facilitate businesses and importers and to ovoid the challenges and problems that have become commonplace over the course of the last few months,” the premier said.

Therefore, the law will be amended, effective 1 September, so the number of codes are greatly reduced from 5,000 to less than 3,000 and for those who do not want to go through the process of recording the codes on each item, customs will undertake that responsibility for a flat fee of $5 per transaction, regardless of the number of items.

The big operations such as supermarkets have already put in place template to process their imports electronically and will not be charged a fee but will be able to use the more simplified coding system, he said.

Finance Minister Marco Archer said the end goal is for importers to fill the coding out for themselves over time, but for now they were trying to speed up the customs process.

The premier also drew attention to the new duty rate on certain imported goods for licensed traders, which reduced duty from 22% to 20 %, which effects almost all category of good for retail use. Retailers are not obliged to pass that on to the consumer, he said, but it is hoped that competition will encourage this.

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Category: Economy, Finance, Local Business, Small Business

Comments (2)

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  1. Annie says:

    How do they know what duty to charge without the breakdown? Or do we have to pay 22% for the whole shipment to avoid the all day wait at customs; and then pay 22% for goods that would have attracted a lower duty? Do I still have to single item line each category or can I just write ‘goods’? Too vague to tell if this will help or not.

  2. Mark says:

    Under which law is customs allowed to charge $5 fee

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