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Published 6th December 2010, 4:44pm

Increased efficiency and ease of use are just two goals the Cayman Islands Customs Department hopes to achieve following a major overhaul of the computer system, according to Customs Training Manager Mr. Langlie Powery.

At the direction of the Portfolio of Finance, Cayman Islands Customs and the Department of Computer Services are busy re-coding tariffs and classifying goods in an effort to bring Cayman's Customs' Tariff Law in line with the World Customs Organizationís Harmonized System - a globally uniform coding system for the trading of goods.

Over the next few months, Caymanís four-digit coding system will be replaced by the WCO globally-utilized six-digit system, which, Mr. Powery said, will make things easier for local merchants who import items to the Islands.

"Weíre utilizing the Harmonized System to make us compatible with international trade, which hopefully will make the customs process more efficient for Caymanís importers and exporters," Mr. Powery said.

"Weíre trying to make this as easy to use as possible and, eventually, registered users will be able to go on-line and check tariffs and codes, make electronic declarations, and print release receipts so when their goods arrive, all they have to do is take delivery from the (air or sea) port."

However, updating Caymanís codes is no small task. According to Mr. Powery, Caymanís Customs Codes are in nearly 100 chapters in 27 sections. Some sections have only a few codes to update, while others have thousands.

Project Manager Ronnie Miller, who currently is in the process of meeting with local importers and customs brokers to make sure their computer systems will be compatible with the new system, said the system upgrade is two-fold. It will simplify the importation process, and it will allow Customs officials more time to concentrate on control measures.

"The system will make it easier for people to import items, and it will give the government the trade statistics that presently are required but not available due to the lack of specific item codes," commented Mr. Miller.

Both a major benefit to Cayman businesses, and an efficiency tool for the government, the Harmonized System will benefit individuals as well. Anyone importing goods to the Cayman Islands will be able to establish tariffs for their goods and make their declarations on-line.

"Weíll have a website, and if individuals want to go on-line and fill out their forms and make their declarations they will be able to do so," Mr. Miller commented. "That way, they donít have to come stand in line; but the current option will still be available for everyone."

Currently, the first 17 chapters are under review by the Legal Department, and the next set of updated codes will be heading for review shortly. Mr. Powery said the first draft of all of the codes should be reviewed by the end of November 2003.

Once approved by the Legislative Drafting Unit, the Harmonzied System will be presented to the Legislative Assembly for approval.