The Trade Board Limited (TBL), an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce (MIIC), in partnership with the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) commenced its issuance of digital Certificates of Origin (CO) on August 23.
Jamaica is the second CARICOM country to offer this service online, with Trinidad & Tobago being the first.
This means that the Trade Board Limited will no longer accept manual applications for certificates of origin, and exporters who need this service will be required to apply via the Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT) at www.jswift.gov.jm.
This bold move, being spearheaded by the Jamaica Customs Agency, came after the implementation of a pilot phase which included numerous training sessions with exporters and their agents.
As the first border regulatory agency to onboard on this new platform, this digital milestone forms another part of the suite of services being offered on JSWIFT by the Trade Board Limited.
Acting Trade Administrator/CEO of TBL, Carl Morgan, expressed that “the issuance of Certificates of Origin online is an important step by the Government of Jamaica as part of a comprehensive plan to improve the efficiency of cross border trade, which will enhance the ease of doing business in Jamaica.”
He further revealed that “90% of TBL’s services are now online. This move is even more significant and impactful during the COVID-19 pandemic when movement is restricted. While the onboarding of our permit service in 2020 created a bit of stir, we have learnt several lessons from that experience and have put in place a number of strategies to mitigate any eventualities.”
Joan Butler, Director – Export Certification at TBL acknowledged that “this new initiative is as a result of the Trade Board’s continuous review of its business processes to enhance customer experience. The CO provides speedier access and thereby more flexibility to our clientele in accessing our service, particularly during this pandemic. For example, exporters from parishes other than Kingston will agree that this process is easier and accessible 24/7.”
She added that, “another significant benefit of the CO is the ability of other regions to authenticate within a much shorter time the validity of certificates issued, thereby enabling a smooth clearance process.”
How to Apply for a CO?
- Register & Log-in to JSWIFT (www.jswift.gov.jm)
- Complete & Submit New Certificate Application:
- General Information
- Special Segment
- Item Details
- Receive Trade Board Approval
- Search & Print Certificate
- Proceed with Shipment
Mr. Andre Williams, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the JCA and Project Manager for JSWIFT, stated that, “the automated services, involving online licensing and permit applications now being introduced for exports, is the first for the sector, and is a major step in the right direction for improving service delivery.”
“Based on our interaction with exporters, this is indeed a welcomed change and a drastic improvement from what previously existed,” he added.
Benefits of the CO
The electronic Certificate of Origin application and payment is done online; it offers greater convenience, faster processing time and real-time access to the approved certificate. Also, the CO provides a system generated CARICOM invoice.
The Trade Board Limited (TBL) is Jamaica’s designated certifying authority for products or produce which comply with the Rules of Origin of a given preferential trade scheme. The process of certifying goods for export requires an analysis of the products/produce, application for a Certificate of Origin and approval.
The issuance of a Certificate of Origin permits the qualifying product to be granted duty concession in the form of duty-free or reduction of duty. TBL is custodian of the following nine (9) trade agreements:
- Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM)
- CARICOM/Venezuela Trade & Investment Agreement
- CARICOM/Colombia Trade Agreement
- CARICOM/Dominican Republic Trade Agreement
- CARICOM/Costa Rica Trade Agreement
- CARICOM/Cuba Trade Agreement
- Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI)/Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA)
- Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN)