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Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 03, 2020 (SKNIS): St. Kitts and Nevis is one of the first countries within CARICOM to pass the Advance Cargo Information Bill, 2020 in the Federal Parliament on Thursday, September 03.

The Bill is to facilitate the provisions of advance information relating to cargo and passengers of a conveyance to share information with other states with a view to identifying cargo and persons that may pose risk to security while facilitating trade through electronic data interchange and for matters connected therewith.

The Advance Cargo Information Bill, 2020, was passed to strengthen border security and, through the Advance Cargo Information System (ACIS), it calls for the provision of advanced data or information to the Customs and Excise Department from cargo vessels entering the Federation’s ports.

“Mr. Speaker, when the Bill is passed it is anticipated that the information provided by the ACIS would help to ensure that the Customs and Excise Department would better be placed to protect the Federation and the region from threats emanating from international trade,” said Mover of the Bill, Prime Minister and Minister with responsibility for Customs Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.

Dr. Harris indicated that other CARICOM territories would move to pass the said Bill.

“…it is important to note that the Bill we are moving through the Parliament would in a similar way be moved through all the Parliaments of member states of CARICOM as we move to have a harmonized piece of legislation everywhere compatible and in sync with each other so that information can be shared and the same approaches basically are being followed,” said Prime Minister Harris. “Mr. Speaker, with this in mind we are able to appreciate that in this regard it is not just one nation attempting on its own to serve its borders, it is all the member states of the CARICOM region which are attempting to do so.”

Prime Minister Harris said it was important for the CARICOM member states to move forward with harmonized policies that will benefit the people of the region

“So, in this manner Mr. Speaker, the forces of integration are saying instead of insularity we must show solidarity. The forces of integration recognize that the criminals have no respect for our borders and thus we must have a holistic and unified approach if we want to maintain in the context of St. Kitts and Nevis, a beautiful country in which peace abounds,” said the prime minister. “Mr. Speaker, it must be remembered that if we are moving towards deeper integration with the intent to encourage greater integrational trade and travel, we must be in a better position to mitigate the threats emanating from not only international but regional trade and travel.”

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