It should be easier to do business in Barbados when the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) World is introduced on February 1, 2015.

Speaking at the launch of ASYCUDA World???s Implementation at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre today, Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, disclosed that Barbados would be the 12th CARICOM country to have modernised its Customs system.

Mr. Sinckler told his audience: ???All importers, exporters or their agents, will be able to submit their single administrative document along with supporting documentation for the processing of imported or exported goods from the comfort of their homes or businesses, as long as they have internet connection.???

He expressed the view that a lot more could be done to reduce added costs arising from public and private sector inefficiencies and bureaucracy, and to simplify the conduct of business both domestically and internationally.

???The implementation of ASYCUDA World is a major step in this direction. It will allow us to streamline and simplify supply-chain processes from the point of importation to customs clearance to final importers and consumers,??? he stated.

The Minister noted that the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Index ranks Barbados 47th out of 148 countries, making it third among Caribbean and Central American countries. He noted, however, that Barbados??? performance was relatively weaker in the area of Goods Market Efficiency, ranking 75th in 2013-2014, down from 64th in 2012-2013 and 56th in 2011-2012.

He pointed out that inefficient government bureaucracy ranked among the top three impediments to doing business over those periods.

???Similarly, the World Bank has consistently assigned a poor ranking in relation to the ease of doing business in Barbados. According to the Bank???s last Doing Business Report published in October 2013, Barbados placed 91 out of 189 countries, and a ranking of 30th was assigned to trading across borders.

???Certainly, we need to address these major indicators of competitiveness, especially if we are to successfully stimulate private sector investment, as well as foreign direct investment,??? he emphasised.

Mr. Sinckler indicated that the modernisation of Customs procedures was only one aspect of the holistic approach adopted by Government to prudently manage its fiscal affairs. He stressed that the implementation of ASYCUDA World was occurring parallel to other projects being undertaken by Government.

He explained that ASYCUDA World would eventually be a part of a wider integrative network called an Electronic Single Window (ESW), which would provide the platform for a paperless, electronic exchange of trader information among participants in the trade process.

The Minister said he was aware the local private sector was eagerly awaiting the establishment of the ESW, which would significantly transform and enhance their business transactions. According to him, the ESW is expected to be fully implemented by mid-2016, although some agencies, depending on their stage of readiness, may be able to participate in the system from 2015.

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