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Belize Customs & Excise prepares for Time Release Study

The World Customs organization is holding a one week workshop in Belize which will prepare participants for a time release study that will be conducted soon. Jonelle McKenzie has the story.

Belize Custom & Excise Department technical officers and other stakeholders are participating in a one week workshop which is being facilitated by the World Customs Organization.  The purpose of the workshop is for the preparation of a time release study which will look at ways to improve the time it takes to clear goods from the Belize Custom & Excise Department. Estella Leslie, Deputy Comptroller, at the Belize Custom and Excise Department spoke to the media about the workshop.

Estella Leslie, Dept. Comptroller Belize Customs & Excise Department : “We have the world customs organization assisting Belize on a whole, not only customs because they will be helping us with Time release study. This study is not only for customs; we are a part of the supply chain for goods but we have a lot of government agencies and other people that are involved in the clearance so this week we will be sitting in here. Like the comptroller mentioned about doing business reports, we’ll be sitting in here and we’ll be learning how to conduct Time Release Study to know exactly where the bottlenecks are in the release process from the goods come in at the port until it is cleared. So that we can full up those gaps and release the goods in a timely manner because time is money for our importers and for our economy. Doing business reports helps us in that, if we are ranked good, we get a lot of foreign direct investment and this can boost our economy.”

Jonelle: Now someone mentioned trade facilitation could you explain that a bit.

Estella Leslie, Dept. Comptroller Belize Customs & Excise Department: “Belize ratified the trade facilitation agreement in 2015. This agreement came into force into 2017. With that trade facilitation agreement there are several articles and one of the articles, article seven deals with the release of goods. Under that article we must conduct time release studies and so this is part of our commitment to the trade facilitation agreement, in that we will be able with their assistance to conduct our time release study.”

Oluimo DaSilva, Technical Expert at the World Customs Organization, spoke about the time release study.

Oluwimo Dasilva, Technical Expert, WCO: So the time release study is an internationally recognized tool and we call it an internationally recognized tool because it’s the only tool referred in the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement as a key tool to measure the time with regard to the movement of cargo between borders. So Belize intends to carry out a time release study as a part of the commitment towards the implementation of the trade facilitation agreement and the WCO is very open and very positive and very thankful as well to the Belize Customs Administration, to the Belize Government to actually request us to support Belize in this important journey.”

Christian David, Technical Expertat the World Customs Organization, shared what the participants will be learning in the one week training.

Christian David, Technical Expert, WCO :  “This is a very important phase of the time release study in determining what will be measured, what are the processes that will be measured during that study. Of course there are so many processes along the supply chain and we have to identify also the main processes that need to be measured and to identify as well those processes that are creating bottlenecks along the supply chain. This is a main planning phase. Apart from that you will have data collection, clearance times, processing times, so this data will have to be collected. Lastly we will be providing assistance on how to draft a time release study report using whatever tools we have available and how to use the software to analyze data that has been collected.”

Reporter: I’m sure you have done this study in other countries, what has the feedback been like after the study was completed?

Christian David, Technical Expert, WCO : “The feedback has always been positive. Time Release Studies can only be beneficial to a country and conducting a time release study gives a clear indication that a country is serious and they mean business and want to attain at least international standards.”

After the workshop, the Belize Customs & Excise Department will embark on a time release study to remove the obstacles to trade.