Customs to launch electronic clearing system Nov. 1

The Customs Department will roll out a new online process beginning Nov. 1 to make it easier for importers to clear goods electronically.

“This will be the first phase of the business modernization and refining process that Customs will embark on over the next three years,” said Collector of Customs Charles Clifford. “This initiative is aimed at delivering excellent customer service and more efficient trade facilitation for importers in the Cayman Islands.”

The Collector added: “Very early in this process we engaged stakeholders, public and private, and I am pleased to report that there is very good support for this initiative which has been designed to expedite the clearance of imported goods while maintaining effective strategies to identify high risk imports.”

Deputy Collector of Customs Kevin Walton said the Customs Department is undergoing modernization and reform of its business processes, laws, policies and IT systems.

The first phase will include an online trader portal which will act as a platform for the electronic submission of Customs declarations, he said.

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“The final aim is for Customs to transition to a paperless environment that will allow users to submit their importation declarations and do business via electronic means,” he said. “Using technology will eliminate the need for importers to submit paperwork or attend in person at our counters, saving them time, money and paper as well.”

The new process has been undergoing testing for several months while staff have been receiving training.

To complement this process, it is expected that government will amend the Customs Law and Customs Tariff Law during the modernization process, the Customs Office said in a press release.

As part of the new initiative, people will be able to submit entry declarations and other requirements remotely. Consequently, the time it takes for authorities to process documents will be shortened dramatically, Mr. Walton said.

The new process will be available to traders who have registered with Customs. Customs is conducting training on the new system for traders this week.

“After that, training in the use of our online portal will continue in-house for medium to small-scale traders, and especially individuals who import goods via sea or air,” Mr. Walton said. “Also, using a selected group of traders, we will be conducting testing of the new system before it is launched.”

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