KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) sector is being
urged to do their due diligence when engaging Customs Brokers to ensure their legitimacy and to
reap the benefits these professionals provide. Speaking at the Jamaica Business Development
Corporation (JBDC) Virtual Biz Zone webinar, Mr. Clive Coke, President, Customs Brokers and Freight
Forwarders Association of Jamaica (CBFFAJ) encouraged participants to do necessary checks before
working with a customs brokerage.
The focus comes amidst the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce’s (MIIC) push for
Customs Brokers are licensed agents representing the interest of importers and exporters with
Jamaica Customs Agency and other Border Regulator Agencies. Mr. Coke shared, “Entrepreneurs
must know that not everyone in a vest and hard hat is a customs broker.” He went on to say that
Customs Brokers must be licensed professionals, and entrepreneurs have the capacity to verify if this
is so before engaging in business with them.
Mr. Coke said in order to verify if a customs broker is licensed, “Check the gazette list of all licensed
customs brokers, tabled in the Parliament. Their names, address and customs broker license
numbers are captured in the gazette.” Entrepreneurs can also verify with the CBFFAJ and or the
Jamaica Customs Agency to see if these businesses are licensed.
Jamaica is an important maritime state and sits at the doorstep of one of the largest consumer
markets-North America. Mr. Coke said, “As a Jamaican businessperson looking to produce goods for
these markets and beyond, you will need to consistently access raw material imports to produce
finished goods for quick export to your target markets.” With this is mind, Mr. Coke encourages
entrepreneurs to utilise customs brokers. He said, “Devote your resources into quality management,
production, packaging and marketing. Leave the intricacies of logistics and customs clearance to a
professional Customs Broker.”
It must be noted that it is a legal provision under the Customs Regulations that all shipments whether commercial or personal of a value exceeding US$5,000 require the service of a Customs Broker. The importance of Customs Brokers cannot be overstated, they advocate on behalf of importers and exporters with several agencies, including the Jamaica Customs, and Private Sector entities like the Kingston Freeport Terminal Ltd to decrease bureaucracies and increase efficiencies in trade.
Underscoring why entrepreneurs need Customs Brokers, Mr. Coke said, “Customs regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and it is tedious if not unattainable for your company to keep up with everything. So, you need an experienced broker with a reliable international network who can wade through the technicalities so that you can remain focused on production.” Brokers have positive, collaborative relationships with Jamaica Customs and the other Border Regulatory Agencies, as well as they will keep you updated on the latest laws and rules, and take the worry out of breaking any laws as you trade.
The JBDC hosts its Virtual Biz Zone webinars twice monthly on Tuesdays at 10:00am, and entrepreneurs are encouraged to join the informational sessions by registering through the website at www.jbdc.net.Participants can look forward to the second session in the Export Series on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 under the theme: Market Speak: Understanding Trade Languages with Ms. Opal Levy from Sisters’ Ink. Interested entrepreneurs can subscribe to JBDC’s YouTube page @JBDCJamaica to watch the previous sessions.