In 1991, the Customs and Excise Division embarked on the Automation of its Declaration Processing functions. The software of choice was the Automated System for Customs Data or ASYCUDA for short. Although it was a great leap forward, there were limitations to the software. In 2003, the Customs and Excise Department completed the implementation of the ASYCUDA version 2.7, which led to the simplification of procedures and a reduction, through the introduction of the Caribbean Single Administrative Document, in the number of documents required for imports and exports. Furthermore, other benefits of the implementation project have resulted in more accurate and complete trade data, as well as the exposure of the Customs and Excise Department to computerisation.

Now the Division is poised to introduce the latest version of the software called ASYCUDA World. The overall aim of this new software is to increase the operational capacity of the Customs Administration in Dominica through the introduction of a modern computerised system, which will lead to a strengthened economy through increased efficiency in the foreign trade environment thereby increasing Government finances. Migration from version 2 to ASYCUDA World will see key benefits such as the introduction of Direct Trader Input (DTI) and risk management practices.

  1. Purpose of the Project
    1. Increase the operational capacity of the Customs Administration in Dominica through the introduction of a modern computerised system, in order to improve its capacity to:
      1. monitor trade flows,
      2. enhance Government revenues and Customs controls;
      3. formulate economic and fiscal policies; and
      4. facilitate trade.
  1. Specific Objectives
    1. The specific objectives of the project are:
      • To improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of Customs operations;
      • To facilitate imports and exports through the streamlining and simplification of customs and trade procedures, information flows and documentation, complimentary to the ASYCUDA programme;
      • To provide the Government with the information necessary to formulate macro-economic and fiscal policies and to monitor and control trade revenue;
      • To provide the Customs Administration with additional information on trade and on individual traders to institute risk management and post clearance audit measures
      • To provide other users (e.g. Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Agriculture, Inland Revenue Department, Central Statistics Department, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank,etc.) with information to monitor and control trade and revenue;
      • To provide the Customs Administration with sustainable means to access continuous technical support and system maintenance and upgrading.
  1. Outputs
    1. To achieve these objectives and results, the key outputs of the project are:
      • A programme of project mobilisation and awareness activities;
      • ASYCUDA Technical and Functional Foundation training courses to enable the national project team and Senior Customs Officials to install, configure and operate the computerised system;
      • Project team technical staff trained on and capable of using the development platform for ASYCUDA system building;
      • ASYCUDA software configured and installed at the Customs Headquarters in Roseau and at the Deep Water Harbour Customs office, as a pilot location. This will be followed by the installation of the system at the Melville Hall Airport, and followed in a further phase, by the rollout of the system to the remaining Customs offices in Dominica;
      • Introduction of rationalised and simplified import and export procedures in Customs and other trade-related Governmental institutions;
      • Customs Administration capable of providing electronic data interchange and electronic services to end-Users from the public and private sectors in accordance with their requirements.

The overall aim is to improve the economy of the country through the provision of an efficient service to the trading community. At the same time, the Government of Dominica recognises the need to balance this objective with an effective service for the collection of revenue and to provide a high quality statistical and trade monitoring mechanism at the earliest opportunity.

Advantages of ASYCUDA World

  1. The upgrading of the existing data processing system into the Customs clearance process will bring about faster clearance of cargo, improve revenue control, and provide up-to-date, accurate information on trade in goods. Linked to an associated programme of trade facilitation and administrative reform, the new computerised system will be the cornerstone of the programme to continue the improved performance of the Customs and Excise Department in Dominica.
  1. UNCTAD Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) is a computer based program for reforming customs administration. It aims at speeding up customs clearance through the introduction of computerization and simplification of procedures and thus minimizing administrative costs to the business community and the economies of countries. It also aims at increasing customs revenue by ensuring that all goods are declared, that duty/tax calculations are correct and that duty/exemptions, preference regimes, etc. are correctly applied and managed.
  1. The system generates customs and trade statistics for informing policy decisions and has been successfully installed or is being implemented in more than 80 countries. It incorporates international best practices and standards as defined by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), and is designed in such a way so as to allow the further configuration to suit the national characteristics of individual customs regimes and customs legislation. Promoting the use of norms and standards is indeed one of UNCTAD's missions and the system has been designed with this objective. The basics are those of the WCO - 153 member states, including all EU countries - the United Nations (in particular UNTDED and UN/EDIFACT) and the European Union.
  1. In developing ASYCUDA, UNCTAD has designed the software deliberately to make use of the latest reliable IT technologies. Major advantages of ASYCUDA are summarized below:
  2. Functional
    • Automation of all customs procedures and regimes (e.g. cargo control, full declaration processing, in-transit operations monitoring), as well as accounting, risk management and selectivity.
    • Possibility to attach digital images to a customs declaration (e.g. picture of the truck, driver, registration numbers, scanned documents, scanned image of truck, etc.), which bridges the gap between physical goods and the supporting documents, facilitates goods identification, inspection and tracking, and assists post-clearance verification.
    • Accurate automatic calculation of duties and taxes, and accounting processing, which is a pre-requisite of timely and reliable statistics. Easier aggregation and processing of data regionally and nationally and, consequently, a sound basis for better and faster economic decision-making.
    • Fully supported trade facilitation, including increased services for trade community, e.g. Internet access, simplified procedures, and documentation.
    • Enabling environment to provide e-Government services and access to on-line external/governmental systems and databases.
    • Complete Customs work flow design to automate the Declaration Processing Path.
    • Implementation of ISO, UN, and WTO relevant standards, including WCO Data Model sets.
    • Full built-in capability to support specific national requirements and frequent changes, in an integrated system environment.
    • Comprehensive document changes tracking, including extensive audit history.
  3. Technical
    • Independent of operating system and RDBMS, which ensures implementation on a wide range of software and hardware platforms, from mainframes to stand-alone equipment (PCs) and portable equipment (PDAs, mobile phones, tablet PCs etc.). Scalability is therefore limited only by the hardware (servers & telecomms) available for the implementation of the system.
    • Possibility for several types of clients: thick clients (stand-alone clients), thin clients (with major Web Browsers), and ultra-thin clients (for mobile devices).
    • Multi-language/alphabet (user-interface & data), Unicode, E-documents (documents ownership management)
    • Robust built-in security features, including user authentication (group, name and password), asymmetric encryption, PKI, electronic signature, biometrics, etc. - Changes & updates of the reference data completed without programming.
    • Communications: Web, Internet and Intranet. Independence of telecoms infrastructure. Resilience to telecom breakdowns.
    • Minimized installation and maintenance costs.
  1. One of the most important advantages of the latest ASYCUDA version is the total ownership of the beneficiary countries, which could implement the e-documents provided by UNCTAD, adapt them according to national requirements, and/or develop new ones by derivation from the existing one. The software ensures that all new versions/developments will be compliant with the internal ASYCUDA standards aforementioned.

For more information, contact:

Customs Reform Project
Customs House
Deep Water Harbour
Woodbridge Bay
Fond Colé
Commonwealth of Dominica
Telephone: (767) 266 3702
Fax: (767) 4406839
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.