The Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade, which was initiated by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and is being embraced by other Customs administrations, should also be considered by Barbados.

This was recommended recently by Acting Comptroller of Customs, Joseph Best, as he delivered remarks at the Customs and Excise Department’s 103rd anniversary service at the St. Leonard’s Anglican Church.

Mr. Best noted that one of the core elements was for Customs to provide benefits for businesses that meet minimal supply chain security standards and best practices. “This entails that companies that continue to demonstrate compliance should have fewer interventions than those with a background of repeated non-compliance,” he said.

The Comptroller also pointed out that measures to incorporate trade facilitation were key functions of Customs, while at the same time maintaining the delicate balance to ensure that relevant legislation was enforced. “There is also the need to use more up-to-date technology to fight transnational crime. In this regard, the need for ongoing training must also be at the forefront. Building capacity by the ongoing development of the human resources can only redound to the benefit of the department,” Mr. Best opined.

He further suggested that putting in place systems such as Risk Management, Post Clearance Audit Units, and the use of non-intrusive examination equipment could be seen as measures to promote trade facilitation, while at the same time allowing Customs to fulfill its enforcement responsibilities.

“In the same way forming partnerships with local law enforcement agencies works towards better border security, being members of organisations such as Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council and WCO has helped this administration in keeping up-to-date in carrying out its responsibilities,” the Comptroller remarked.

Referring to the fast pace and dynamic environment in which his department had to operate, he noted that members of staff were being called upon to improve their service delivery in terms of faster release of goods, quicker processing of value added tax refunds, and quicker response to queries, among other things.

“Importers and exporters and other stakeholders indicate that if they are to remain competitive they must get timely responses from Customs. The private sector expects better service at ports of entry which will invariably lead to the reduction in the costs of doing business. Speedier decisions are being requested,” Mr. Best said. (GA)           

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