Customs
Article Index
Customs
1.1 What Is Customs?
1.2 Why Do We Need a Customs Service?
1.3 Overview of the Role and Functions of Customs
1.4 A Day in the Life of an Airport Customs Department
1.5 Customs Problems
2.1 Examples of Customs or Customs-Related Awards
2.2 APEC Customs Best Practices Handbook
2.3 Customs Protecting the Environment with the Global Montreal Protocol Award
3.1 Dubai Customs Wins Organisation-Wide Innovation Award 2018
3.2 Australian Trusted Trader
3.3 New Zealand Customs Winner at Public Sector Excellence Awards
3.4 Cotecna Receives WCO Award for Exceptional Service
3.5 Singapore Customs: Singapore Quality Award Winner
3.6 Webb Fontaine Cote d Ivoire Receives WCO Award for Outstanding Services
3.7 Commercial Freight and Logistics
4.1 United States Customs and Border Protection
4.2 Breaking the Ice between Government and Business
4.3 Global Customs Risk Management: an Examination of Leading Practices
4.4 World Tariff Profiles
4.5 NZ Customs Service - Joint Border Management System (JBMS)
4.6 Best Practices in Customs Procedures
4.7 Export Best Practice Guide
4.8 Costs and Challenges of Trade Facilitation Measures
5.1 Supplier Qualification Program (SQP)
5.2 Accreditation for Preferred Traders
5.3 Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)
5.4 WCO: Events and Newsletter
5.5 JBMS Trade Single Window
5.6 Singapore Customs Advisory on Best Practices for Imports
6.1 Performance Measurement in Customs Administrations
6.2 Measuring the Performance of Customs Information Systems
6.3 Step-by-Step Approach to Measuring Trade Facilitation
6.4 Organisational Performance Measurement
7. What do business leaders say about about customs?
8. Conclusion
The movement of people across a country’s borders is usually controlled by immigration authorities. The movement of all other things – for example, goods, hazardous items, vehicles, and animals – is controlled by a government department, agency, service or authority called customs. In general, a customs department decides what can or cannot enter or leave a country, how much should be paid in terms of duty (tax) for that to happen, and prevents the illegal import and export of banned or dangerous goods.

Every country has its own laws and regulations relating to the import and export of goods. However, for the purposes of business and international trade, some of these laws and regulations are governed by formal international agreements. This ensures security, and facilitates and expedites the clearance of goods in an efficient manner.

In This Report

  1. What is “customs”?
  2. Which organisations have received recognition for customs excellence?
  3. How have organisations reached high levels of success in customs or customs-related services?
  4. What research has been undertaken into customs?
  5. What tools and methods are used to achieve high levels of success in customs?
  6. How can customs services be measured?
  7. What do business leaders say about customs?
  8. Conclusion

The Definition

The movement of people across a country’s borders is usually controlled by immigration authorities. The movement of all other things – for example, goods, hazardous items, vehicles, and animals – is controlled by a government department, agency, service or authority called customs. In general, a customs department decides what can or cannot enter or leave a country, how much should be paid in terms of duty (tax) for that to happen, and prevents the illegal import and export of banned or dangerous goods.

Every country has its own laws and regulations relating to the import and export of goods. However, for the purposes of business and international trade, some of these laws and regulations are governed by formal international agreements. This ensures security, and facilitates and expedites the clearance of goods in an efficient manner.

The Stage

Customs has the job of protecting the community from risks and facilitating the legitimate movement of items across a national border. These risks may come in the form of prohibited or restricted goods, illegal or illicit items (such as drugs), or even dangerous items (such as weapons).

While customs authorities in every country have their own process of inspecting and clearing items, some of these processes meet an international standard, agreed upon by participating countries. Customs unions and free-trade zones such as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the European Union (EU) or the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) enable actions to be harmonised. Customs duties (or tariffs or taxes) are imposed on certain goods being transported across borders; the rate of this duty depends on the type or quantity of item being brought in, and can differ considerably depending on the country’s regulations.

Clearing customs can be quite a daunting process in terms of the amount of documentation and transactions required, as well as the need for accuracy. In shipping, for example, a problem with clearance can lead to containers being warehoused. Storage fees add up very quickly, which has the potential to cost businesses significant time and money. For this reason, many companies choose to pay a professional customs broker to help them navigate the clearance process. Some governments also appoint private agencies to manage customs at certain borders. While this alleviates certain resource constraints, it can sometimes bring to the fore other issues, including corruption.

The international environment of trade is characterised by instability. Organisations such as the World Customs Organization (WCO) have become important in providing a platform to share best practices and discuss challenges. Customs agencies all around the world constantly face the challenge of improving their processes to make them more robust and transparent, balancing smooth international trade with the need to protecting the communities they serve.

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