San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Automated Customs Program Takes Effect

A new automated, online customs systemthat will integrate all the nation’s bordercrossings and ports entered its firstphase of activation Monday, albeit withproblems, at the customs station at theCentral Pacific port of Caldera.The Information Technology forCustoms Control (TICA) program is anew way of controlling the traffic ofgoods in and out of the country, accordingto a statement from the FinanceMinistry.However, the system was down nearlythe entire day of its inauguration and wasable to process only one customs declaration,according to La Nación. The dailyreported that a group of public officialsincluding customs agents and truck driverswrote a letter to the ministry expressingdoubts about the system.The new program is running parallelto the current system in use at Caldera,allowing users and agents, who have beenreceiving training on the new systemsince Sept. 2004, to become familiar withthe procedure. In three weeks, the old systemwill go offline, and TICA will administerall customs at the port.Declarations, payments, shippingconfirmations – all aspects of the customsprocess will now be taken care ofonline, centralizing the information andstriking a blow at corruption, accordingto the ministry.“The centralized information systemwill allow the monitoring of all customsoperations and control the movement ofgoods by way of a (digital certificate),which will avoid the practices associatedwith tax evasion,” Finance MinisterFederico Carrillo said in the statement.During the coming months, the systemwill gradually be implemented at customsstations at the ports of Limón and Golfito,Peñas Blancas on the border withNicaragua, Paso Canoas on the borderwith Panama, the country’s two internationalairports and the central office inSan José.

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