According to Jamaica Customs Agency, the agency seized more than $376 million worth of counterfeit goods during the 2017/2018 fiscal year, at the nation’s ports in collaboration with the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch.
This information was disclosed by Director of the Contraband Enforcement Team, Jamaica Customs, Albert Anderson, during a recent press conference in Kingston.
According to Mr. Anderson, the counterfeit items included over 98,000 pairs of footwear, 15,000 pieces of clothing and 11,000 handbags and purses. He noted that over one million sticks of cigarettes and 2,000 cigars were also seized at the ports.
“The majority of Jamaicans do not recognize the damaging effects of counterfeit items, especially as it relates to clothing. It undermines the efforts of the legitimate owners of the product and strengthens the capacity of the black market,” Mr. Anderson noted.
He noted that persons involved in the sale of counterfeit products also engage in the sale of restricted and potentially life-threatening items, such as fireworks, black mosquito coils, and skin bleaching products, and that the agency often faces some limitations due to the dated Customs Act. He further noted that they are in the process of creating a new Customs Act to address current realities.
“The Jamaica Customs Agency faces a challenge in restricting the importation of these items at the point of arrival due to limitations within our aged Customs Act. This is one of the reasons why we are now in the process of creating a new Customs Act, which will be more effective in treating with current realities. The current Act predates our Independence and does not effectively address several areas of concern,” Mr. Anderson said.
Other expected changes include the purchase of new X-ray machines for use at the airports and seaports in order to increase trade facilitation and enable greater risk management through non-intrusive viewing of cargo.