PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, (News.Gov.tt) – ExporTT Limited commenced the issuance of Digital CARICOM Certificates of Origin (COOs) to exporters through the Single Electronic Window (SEW) – TTBizLink.
ExporTT, one of the first agencies to commence using the SEW, issues COOs for goods to be exported to countries which have Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Trinidad and Tobago and CARICOM. CARICOM COOs are issued for the export of goods to countries in the region: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.
This digital milestone forms part of the e-Certificates of Origin Module on the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s (MTI’s) SEW, and is part of a comprehensive upgrade project being undertaken by the ministry and exporTT to enhance the processing of COOs. This initiative involves the provision of digitally approved COOs with advanced security features, including a Bar Code, Watermark (Coat of Arms) and the use of Digital Signatures. These features address the fraud and security standards outlined by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) World Chambers Federation in the Electronic Certificate of Origin (eCO) – Best Practices Document 550-9/36.
In addition, exporters are now able to make online payments for the processing of COOs. This recent achievement reduces customer transaction time by eliminating the need for the applicant to physically visit a bank to make the required payment and then exporTT’s offices to complete transactions, a process that could have taken up to half of a day, in some instances.
The issuance of the digital CARICOM COOs underscores the government’s commitment to improving the ease of doing business in Trinidad and Tobago, particularly as it pertains to the Trading Across Borders Indicator of the World Bank’s Doing Business Ranking. This index measures the time and cost associated with the logistical process of exporting and importing goods. Initiatives such as this which reduce the time and cost associated with the application and processing of COOs, would therefore positively impact the country’s rating for this index. Moreover, it is consistent with the government’s focus on ensuring business continuity in the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the launch of the e-Certificate of Origin Module on TTBizLink, exporTT Limited has processed over three hundred thousand (300,000) e-Certificates of Origin. It is one of the most utilised Modules of the SEW and has an impressive service delivery record of processing COOs under the Service Delivery Standard of 30 minutes. Over 200 exporters will benefit from this improved service.