CARICOM pursues regional customs document

DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A proposed regional Single Administrative Document (SAD) for CARIFORUM countries is currently under consideration by regional Customs Administrations at the Secretariat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

The document will address the critical need to adopt harmonised approaches for conducting trade across borders. The three-day meeting opened today and will engage officials of regional Customs Administrations.

CARICOM’s Assistant Secretary-General, Trade & Economic Integration, Joseph Cox.

CARICOM’s Assistant Secretary-General, Trade & Economic Integration, Joseph Cox said that as the trading environment continues to evolve, and the Caribbean Community seeks to deepen the integration process, trade facilitation has shifted to a higher level of priority on the regional trade agenda.

“In keeping with the Community’s vision of full economic integration and keeping with our obligations under the European Partnership Agreement, there is a critical need to adopt harmonised approaches for conducting trade across borders,” Cox told the meeting.

Assisting in the process, the CARICOM Secretariat has already assessed the state of readiness of Member States customs’ administrations.  The Report of a Study recommended that a common document be developed, for which the Secretariat began work to develop a SAD in 2010.

This effort led to a draft SAD of 48 information fields being developed but following several setbacks and non-interest at times by the Member States, the Secretariat said it is now pleased to witness the completion of this journey.

A section of the attendees.

“The Secretariat’s focus through the Customs Committee has always been one of keeping track of the challenges being experienced by the Member States and mobilising resources to target such challenges. Our encounters with regional customs authorities suggest that non-compliance among traders to declare true and correct values is the single biggest cause of revenue leakage,” the assistant Secretary-General said.

According to Cox, as the trading environment continues to evolve, and as the Community seeks to deepen the integration process, trade facilitation has shifted to a higher level of priority on the regional trade agenda.

The Community, he said, has taken its cue from the “going-into-effect” of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (FTA), for which Member States are finalising their category B and C commitments.

He said the Community’s approval of model Harmonised Customs Bill and Regulations in September 2016, and advanced work in developing a CARICOM Customs Procedure Manual, along with the signing last month of a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Customs Organisation, CARICOM and by extension CARIFORUM, have opened doors for the future landscape of trade.

The workshop will conclude on Thursday.

 

By: Alexis Rodney

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