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Jamaica Begins Process to Improve Cost and Time to Trade Across Borders

Jamaica has started the process of onboarding import/export services provided by the main cross-border regulatory agencies (CBRAs) of the Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT) platform.

“When completed, this will result in tremendous improvement in the cost and time to trade across borders,” Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, said.

Mr. Hill was speaking at a forum on facilitating competitive, safe and secure cross-border trade, held at the Regional Headquarters, University of the West indies, Mona, on March 15.

JSWIFT is a single electronic platform providing fully automated access to all cross-border regulatory agencies, enabling traders and their representatives to transact all businesses online.

In 2020, Jamaica was ranked 136 out of 190 countries in the World Bank Doing Business Report for trading across borders in Latin America and the Caribbean for time to export, import and for costs to export/import.

Senator Hill also informed that there are several initiatives on the Ministry’s agenda to improve trade facilitation.

Among them is the phased rollout of JSWIFT across the border regulatory agencies and piloting the onboarding of all primary and secondary services of the BRAs on JSWIFT.

The Minister also mentioned the full digitisation of the permitting/clearance cycle through JSWIFT, thereby achieving paperless clearance at both post-arrival and post-departure ends.

“I’m looking forward to that, and we will work with Jamaica Customs Agency to make sure we get that even better than how ASYCUDA is doing it now,” Senator Hill said.

He also mentioned the updating and modernisation of the legislative framework governing cross-border regulation of trade and goods, and the review of the BRAs’ fees and charges.

“The World Bank Group has committed to supporting the government of Jamaica to review current fees and charges imposed by the BRAs for importation and exportation services,” Senator Hill stated.

The workshop, facilitated by the Trade Facilitation Office, sought to ascertain, through presentations and discussions among key players, Jamaica’s status in relation to its Trade Facilitation Reform Programme.

The office also sought to identify opportunities for economic growth and border regulatory reforms.

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