Process related measures

In addition to general trade facilitation measures to improve the clearance process, there are a wide range of specific process-related measures that can have a tangible impact on the efficacy of the overall clearance process. Some measures can be local in reach and relatively inexpensive to implement, but can nevertheless lead to significant results. An example of such a measure is setting the opening hours of a local Customs office so that they are in accordance with business needs and are coordinated with the opening hours of the Customs office on the other side of the border.

The majority of the measures described in this section are covered by legal provisions in the Revised Kyoto Convention whereas the International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods specifically addresses aspects of coordinated and cross-border management.

Typical steps of a Customs clearance process

Process-related measures to facilitate international legitimate trade cover various stages in the clearance process.

For the declare stage, the form and the content of the declaration (either paper forms or electronic messages) and the handling of supporting documents, which often have to accompany the declaration, have tangible impacts on the cost of trading and the efficiency of the clearance process, and thus are important trade facilitation measures. The declaration process can become much more predictable and consistent, when Customs applies a system of advance ruling, mostly for classification, origin or valuation decisions.

During the check stage, Customs must check the declaration as soon as possible after the declaration has been lodged and registered. They should take only those actions that are necessary to ensure compliance such as, verifying the classification, origin and value, verifying particulars in the declaration with the supporting documents and verifying its authenticity.

During the select and examine stage, trade facilitation can be achieved through the application of risk management and selectivity, the use of non-intrusive inspection technology and through coordinated intervention of border agencies in cases where a shipment has been selected for physical inspection.

The next stage addresses release-related matters, such as improving the overall release time, pre-arrival processing of declarations and the provision of a security and guarantee scheme to enable the segregation of release from clearance through provisional release or release against security.

The next final stage covers trade facilitation measures relating to the calculate and collect process leading to the clearance of the consignment. In particular deferred payment and e-payment of customs duties and taxes methods are highly encouraged by the WCO Revised Arusha Declaration to raise the integrity and transparency of a Customs administration.