Customs tariffs harmonized under new law

| 10/04/2012

new mobile scanner.jpg(CNS): A new customs law facilitatingthe use of a harmonized coding system was passed in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday. The law will help government make more informed policy decisions in future about levels of duty as well as making the country’s imports and exports more efficient. Presenting the new law to the parliament, the premier, who has responsibility for customs, said that no duty levels were changed in the law but the customs department would be adopting an internationally recognised system that would provide more detailed information for assessment on the goods which the Cayman Islands imports and exports.

“The current system used for classifying imports and exports is not detailed enough to provide useful information to the government,” McKeeva Bush explained, adding that the law provided description codes that are applied internationally.

He said the current system has 221 commodity groups under 22 tariff codes and the vagueness of the codes makes it difficult to report the volume and value of specific items imported and exported. Bush noted that this prevented government from getting proper policy guidance on duty levels. He said there was a need to track things more specifically so government could in future calculate what would happen to the public purse if it was to take a policy decision to change duty levels up or down on any item.

The premier stressed, however, that with this law government was not increasing duty on anything under the existing customs tariff, and although goods would have new codes, the duty levels at present will remain the same.

The harmonized international standardized system which the country will now adopt is maintained by a world body, Bush said, that covers 172 countries and comprises 5,000 commodities.

It places goods in categories that are the same around the world with relevant codes in a harmonized system and classifies things more clearly and specifically. Bush told his legislative colleagues that adopting the system would bring many advantages to government and the trading community, including more transparency and the opportunity to target protection, and it would assist government in making better economic decisions.

In addition, the system would make revenue collection more efficient and provide much better statistics for international comparison and local use, he said.

The premier revealed that although duty levels weren't changing, a new flat fee of $100 per container was being introduced to pay for the new scanner recently acquired by the customs department that can examine every container. He said he was confident that it would serve as a positive crime prevention measure and deter smuggling, but it had cost $3 million in addition to annual running costs.

Bush said the bill was long overdue, as he commended the customs department for the work they had put in to finally implement the new law and system.

See new Customs Law here

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  1. Anonymous says:

    "Customs Tariffs Harmonized…."  Might this not be a good time to examine why Customs charges 1% insurance on all imports, even after such shipments have arrived safely? Why is Customs insuring shipments? What is the Customs Department's qualification to be in the insurance business? What recourse is there if an importer claims on such insurance?

    This is a blatant rip-off.



    • Lesson Juan says:

      Customs does NOT charge insurance.  Whilst some people have a hard time grasping this, what Customs actually charges is DUTY on the insurance, and if the goods are not insured, then duty on an assumed 1% insurance rate..  The Customs Law clearly states duty is to be charged on the CIF value, which is the Cost of the goods, Insurance and Freight.  Electing not to insure your goods means they have to use a fair market value estimate of the insurance for coming up with the CIF value.  

      Having clarified that issue, I am willing to enter a discussion as to whether this is a fair assumption given some people try to save a little on the overall cost of goods but electing to not take insurance, but that is NOT Government being in the insurance business.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, and since it cost 3 million the money had to come from somewhere.

    So can we get a payment plan from YOU for lets say around 12 million to date you owe Government coffers you buffoon. 

  3. Absurdistani says:

    "The premier stressed, however, that with this law government was not increasing duty on anything"…

    "The premier revealed that although duty levels weren't changing, a new flat fee of $100 per container was being introduced"

    Talking out of both sides of his mouth. The new fee of $100 per container is actually an increase on EVERYTHING (although a small increase).


    • Anonymous says:

      Would he have the intelligence to know that cost on anything and everything is passed on to the consumer.

      Not so smart indeed.