Cham­ber Con­tin­ues “Get­ting Down to Busi­ness”

The Star (St. Lucia) - - BUSINESS -

The first in the Get­ting Down to Busi­ness Se­ries of the Saint Lu­cia Cham­ber of Com­merce, In­dus­try and Agri­cul­ture was suc­cess­fully con­cluded on Wed­nes­day, 26th July at the Cham­ber Sec­re­tariat. At­tended by cus­toms of­fi­cials, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Min­istry of Com­merce and a wide cross-sec­tion of Cham­ber mem­bers, the Duty Free Liquor Regime came un­der the mi­cro­scope.

Sub­jects rang­ing from the leg­isla­tive frame­work, en­hanced mon­i­tor­ing by the Cus­toms Depart­ment, new ITC ap­pli­ca­tions, bet­ter stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures for duty free shop op­er­a­tors, shar­ing of best prac­tice and more de­ci­sive ac­tion by the court of­fice were dis­cussed openly, as the cur­rent way in which the regime was op­er­at­ing was neg­a­tively af­fect­ing busi­ness and govern­ment rev­enue.

The Cus­toms and Ex­cise Depart­ment pledged to in­tro­duce a new Ware­house In­ven­tory Con­trol Sys­tem (WICS), with train­ing to be­gin Au­gust 5, 2017 while mon­i­tor­ing and en­force­ment of the ex­ist­ing rules and reg­u­la­tions would be in­ten­si­fied. The WICS is ex­pected to make life eas­ier for both duty free shop op­er­a­tors and the Depart­ment, and will go a long way in im­prov­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion of trade.

Ad­di­tion­ally the mat­ter of par­al­lel trade in liquor was raised and the ques­tion of qual­ity and stan­dards of liquor on the lo­cal mar­ket was also ad­dressed, sug­gest­ing that the Bu­reau of Stan­dards may have a role to play in that mat­ter.

For their part, the duty free shop op­er­a­tors stated that they look for­ward to the in­tro­duc­tion of the stan­dard­ized WICS which will fa­cil­i­tate their op­er­a­tions greatly. The op­er­a­tors were also in agree­ment that the cus­tomers pur­chas­ing duty free liquor needed to be made aware that these prod­ucts are for ex­port and that the Cus­toms and Ex­cise Depart­ment will be im­prov­ing their mon­i­tor­ing of trav­ellers at ports of de­par­ture. Where per­sons are not able to demon­strate the goods are be­ing ex­ported, they are li­able to pay the du­ties and can be pre­vented from trav­el­ling un­til pay­ment is made.

The meet­ing agreed to meet again in the next two months to re­view the ac­tions taken and progress made. The con­sen­sus was that with the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor work­ing in part­ner­ship to re­solve is­sues af­fect­ing busi­ness and govern­ment, there could only be good re­sults.

The Cus­toms and Ex­cise Depart­ment agreed to share a num­ber of pieces of in­for­ma­tion with the duty free shop op­er­a­tors and the pub­lic us­ing the Cham­ber as one of the dis­sem­i­na­tors.

The “Get­ting Down to Busi­ness” Se­ries con­tin­ues Wed­nes­day, 2nd Au­gust with dis­cus­sion on the Price Con­trol Regime, and on Wed­nes­day 9th Au­gust with dis­cus­sions on the Im­port Li­cense Regime.

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