Chamber Continues “Getting Down to 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.