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Nov 7, 2017

Belize Ahead of the Curve in Trade Facilitation

Belize’s Customs and Excise Department is meeting with its partners on the National Committee for Trade Facilitation all this week in Belize City to discuss efforts to increase volume of trade. The Brussels, Belgium-based World Customs Organization sent two of its experts to assist with the consultation process. But the Customs and Excise Department has been a regional leader in the process of implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement and installing important protocols and practices to facilitate importers and exporters and consumers, according to Hermie George of the WCO.


Hermie George

Hermie George, NCTF Expert, World Customs Organization

“It’s very impressive that Belize actually had, after the next day after [the TFA] came into force, established this committee. Also I have heard from the Assistant Comptroller of all the agencies involved, because if you look at the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the main purpose of this agreement is to expedite the clearance of goods including goods in transit. So if you look at all these provisions you will see that all of that is actually going towards – we need to facilitate trade. We need to make sure that goods are moving faster, so that it reaches the consumers faster so that business can make money and so consumers don’t have to pay out of their pockets for goods at the border. And so Belize have already included all the other agencies, because Customs is not the only agency actually at the border when goods come in. It all depends on what goods come in – you have to deal with your health department, your phyto-sanitary – so sometimes goods are stopped for some kinds of certificates that are not necessarily required by Customs, but Customs always get the blame – “Customs didn’t clear my goods” but we cannot clear it if we don’t have the required documents.”

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