Archive for July 11th, 2014

Customs codes cause chaos

| 11/07/2014 | 61 Comments

(CNS): Local business owners and overseas shoppers are tearing their hair out as they battle with the new code system recently implemented by the customs department. According to a number of CNS readers, the new system is causing untold delays and creating another bureaucratic barrier to business. Custom officials have admitted that there are some teething problems but said they are doing their best to help importers and running workshops. Nevertheless, customers say that the time dealing with customs has increased significantly and officers are not yet able to answer their questions about the new system, which has increased the number of codes from some 300 to over 5,000.

The Chamber of Commerce president raised his concerns this week in response to growing membership complaints about the delays and urged customs to find solutions.

“We have had representations from some of our members who have expressed concerns about the new system,” said Johann Moxam. “The biggest issues would appear to be around the amount of time it is taking and the lack of customer support. We would encourage the acting collector of customs and the department to continue their educational seminars and focus groups and be open to the suggestions and legitimate concerns of business owners.”

He said it was imperative that Cayman has a system that works for all. “With anything new, it takes time to sort out all the issues. We would encourage customs and business owners to work in partnership to find a resolution to this matter," he added.

Frustration appear to be running high, however, as the delays in collecting goods see business owners or their employees wasting the best part ofthe working day wrestling with the paperwork that comes with the code expansion.

According to Collector of Customs Samantha Bennett, the law introduced a new harmonized commodity description and coding system used in more than 250 countries worldwide but it requires far more detail and the process was time consuming. 

“The system will improve, however we are just moving through the teething pains of a new IT system, new change in law and new process requirements,” she said.

With plans for the introduction of an online process in the autumn and more staff, the collector hopes to see the process speed up.

The aim of the law and the harmonized codes, which was rolled out in March, is to provide the government with more accurate data on the imports coming into Cayman. It will enable Cayman to collect data, allowing customs to monitor controlled goods, the origin, transport statistics and prices. It will also help with the compilation of Cayman’s national accounts and economic analysis. Officials have also stated that it will bring the country in line with international standards.

Related Viewpoint: New Customs Tariff Law (2012)

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