Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Electronic Single Window (ESW) will be a game changer for importers and exporters. Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Electronic Single Window (ESW) will be a game changer for importers and exporters.The system, which forms part of Jamaica’s Trade Facilitation Programme, integrates approximately 20 border regulatory agencies into a single platform for all documentation relating to trade.It is being implemented by the Jamaica Customs Agency in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.Minister Shaw, who was speaking at the official launch of the Jamaica Trade Information Portal at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel on May 16, said that the window will result in greater efficiency in doing business, by reducing turnaround time and cost for transactions, and ensure better use of resources.It will allow importers and exporters to lodge documents electronically and facilitate the exchange of information between government agencies and traders. It will reduce traders’ points of contact from as many as five entities to one single agency.Minister Shaw said that the integration of the Trade Board Limited (TBL) into the single window has already commenced, with key Ministry agencies to follow suit in short order, namely the Plant Quarantine Division, the Veterinary Services Division, and the National Compliance Regulatory Authority.The Jamaica Trade Information Portal, managed by the TBL, provides details on import-export regulations, processes and requirements for trade.Its rich database provides information on standards, tariffs, fees, levies and applicable penalties; various authorisations; inspections and verifications, trade agreements details and opportunities.It includes downloadable forms for applications, licences and permits as well as links to regulatory and various bodies engaged in trade facilitation.Meanwhile, Minister Shaw informed that the Trade Board has removed the licensing requirement for more than 14 products.He said the move forms a part of the Ministry’s work, through the Trade Facilitation Task Force, to gradually reduce the unnecessary and burdensome red tape associated with regulatory compliance in the trade environment.“[It] is also being undertaken within the context of our commitment under the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), to reduce the overall time and cost to trade, creating a more agile business and trading environment,” Mr. Shaw said.He said that the country’s quest to improve the platform for trade will require that certain elements, such as the legislative agenda, are brought in line with prevailing global trends and current needs.“Jamaica must bring its trade-related laws into the 21st century. Currently, we have laws which are dated 1945 regulating our trade. Thus, the repeal and replacement of the Customs Act is a pivotal step in this direction,” he said.He noted that “through the Technical Committee on Legislative Review, our ability to respond with current legislation to the demands of new sectors, such as nutraceuticals and cannabis, is a signal of a forward-thinking approach to creating a conducive and business-friendly environment, allowing us to truly compete on a global scale”. Story Highlights The system, which forms part of Jamaica’s Trade Facilitation Programme, integrates approximately 20 border regulatory agencies into a single platform for all documentation relating to trade. It is being implemented by the Jamaica Customs Agency in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.