CUSTOMS TO PARTNER WITH THE YACHTING SECTORTuesday 26th October 2010
Over the last two weeks some concern has been expressed in the yachting sector regarding proposed changes in procedures for the clearing of in-transit yachts and the provisioning of such yachts in Antigua and Barbuda.
The Ministry of Finance, the Economy and Public Administration, working in close cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, wishes to clarify Customs procedures for the yachting sector. Both Ministers wish to emphasise that the status quo remains essentially unchanged. The only difference is that Customs will play a more active role in monitoring activities in the sector, in an attempt to prevent abuse of the system, and the leakage of revenue.
Five primary issues were brought to the attention of the Ministers, and we wish to summarise the decisions made on these issues as follows:
1.In-transit provisioning of Yachts – The provisioning is for the use of the yacht owners, guests and crew only, and is not intended for use or sale ashore. This will continue as normal. In instances where provisions arrive at V.C. Bird International after normal working hours for the Customs Cargo Shed the goods will be released forthwith without the need for payment or the posting of a bond. The Broker must then complete and submit the necessary warrants etc by the following business day. Should any Broker CONSISTENTLY fail to comply with these procedures he/she/they may be disqualified from providing this service in future
2.Support Containers for the Yachts – The Government of Antigua and Barbuda, working in conjunction with the Marine Trades Association, will identify certain sites, frequented by in-transit yachts, and designate them as approved areas for the temporary storage of containers containing tools, equipment and spares for the yachts. On arrival, the Captain will be required to provide Customs with a list of major items in the container. When the yacht is ready to depart, the Captain will have to provide an accounting for any of the major items that are missing. Where the Captain cannot satisfy Customs as to the disposition of items, duties and taxes will be charged. Where appropriate, fines could also be imposed in line with the Customs Management Act. No bonds will be required in respect of such containers, destined for re-export. The agreed simplified Customs form in respect of such containers will continue to be used.
3.Sale of Duty-free Fuel to Yachts (especially on weekends) – The fuel for genuine yachts in-transit will continue to be exempt from all taxes and duties. Yachts arriving or departing on the weekend, when Customs is closed, will be allowed to purchase fuel on presentation of a valid entry document and simplified Customs form, signed by the Captain. This form will then be cleared with Customs on the following business day.
4. Processing of Documents Received by Courier - Small packages and Crew Mail arriving on island by courier will be delivered directly to the Bonded Warehouse at the Customs Office in Falmouth/English Harbour. The Captains will visit the warehouse with their Ship’s papers and open the packages. In instances where there is a dutiable item, the Customs Officer will collect duty using the simplified form currently in use at the General Post Office.
5.Watercraft Landed in Antigua specifically to be repaired – Arrangements must be put in place to document each craft that is sent to Antigua for repairs. At the time of re-export, Customs is to be provided with verifiable evidence that the craft has left our shores. Failing this, the service provider will be required to pay the duties and taxes assessed on any craft that cannot be accounted for.
It is our hope that this release will clarify the stance taken by the Government to protect the yachting sector, which continues to make a significant contribution to the local economy.
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