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ANNUAL REVIEW

Trade & Customs 2014

September 2014  |  GLOBAL TRADE

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As the world becomes smaller and global trade more commonplace, governments internationally are more focused on the need for robust and comprehensive trade and customs monitoring and enforcement activities.

 

UNITED STATES

Michael T. Cone

FisherBroyles, LLP

“Companies engaged in 21st century international trade must understand the state’s electronic monitoring and enforcement capabilities. The federal government has invested significantly in high-tech trade enforcement tools. This includes cross-agency communication platforms because CBP enforces the laws of more than 40 different federal agencies at the border. Today, a revenue or enforcement ‘opportunity’ with a shipment arriving in one US port will generate an electronic red flag to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in every other US port where that importer has entered goods. It’s increasingly difficult to hide, or to contain the damage once it is done.”

 

ARGENTINA

Pablo Gayol

Marval O’Farrell & Mairal

“In 2012, the Argentine government introduced an Import Prior Sworn Statement – referred to as ‘DJAIs’ by their acronym in Spanish – requirement applicable to almost all imports of goods. An Argentine company cannot place an import purchase order until the Import Prior Sworn Statement is approved by the authorities for each of its import transactions. The approval rate of the Import Prior Sworn Statements varies over time, but it has been increasingly difficult for companies to obtain them. As a result of the Import Prior Sworn Statement system, the foreign trade strategy has been at the top of the agenda for most Argentine companies and, in many cases, senior management has been involved in obtaining the approval of such Import Prior Sworn Statement.”

 

GERMANY

Kay Masorsky

KPMG

“The interpretation and application of the EU customs rules – above all, Customs Code and Implementation Regulation for the Customs Code – in many respects vary significantly among the EU Member States. Over the last 20 years, as a customs consultant I have time and again seen that German customs officers apply the rules in a very strict way. The monitoring activities are definitely increasing as are enforcement activities in Germany – namely, offence proceedings. A general observation therefore is that, in line with so many other areas, compliance is the leading topic in customs matters, as can clearly be seen in connection with the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO).”

 

ITALY

Massimo Fabio

KStudio Associato (KPMG) Italy

“In the past, Italian companies mainly resorted to forwarding agents for customs advice, especially about compliance. In the last couple of decades, the increasing impact of trade and customs issues on the business of companies with foreign interests, small family companies and large multinational companies, has also led to the formation of specialised centres of excellence within various Italian legal practices. Like the Big Four, more traditional practices have recently started to specialise in customs issues, a complex and constantly evolving field. The greater interest shown by the private sector has been triggered by the evolution of EU customs law, which began in 2006 and which has changed not only the provisions and regulations, but also the duties and functions of EU customs authorities.”

 

TURKEY

Murat Palaoglu

KPMG Turkey (Yetkin Yeminli Mali Musavirlik A.S.)

“As an emerging market and a member of the Customs Union within the EU, Turkey has been attractive to investors both with regard to the growing local market and also its hinterland, which includes MENA countries. This attraction creates a boost in Turkey’s foreign trade. The country is becoming a centre for both production and trade as a hub for the MENA market. Transit trading, importation, using bounded facilities, Free Trade Zones and customs regimes might be considered as trade options. Given that different products are being traded across Turkey between various countries, the government has increased related rules and created new tools to prevent illegal trade while at the same time promoting legal trade.”

 

ICELAND

Helgi Már Jósepsson

KPMG ehf.

“Recently there seems to have been an increased awareness in Iceland about the importance of correct customs classification of goods. This is especially true in relation to changes in technology, related to hardware and equipment. The level of complexity when it comes to import duties, such as customs and excise duties, value added tax and various other costs which may be added upon the import of goods, make correct customs classification extremely important. The Icelandic government’s agenda is to simplify excise duties levied on imports.”

 

SOUTH AFRICA

Meluleki Nzimande

Webber Wentzel

“In terms of trade, on 15 July 2014 the negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and its Member States, and the SADC EPA States were successfully concluded. The agreement regulates trade between these territories and the private sector will benefit from certainty and the preferential market access regime created by this agreement. In terms of customs, South Africa has published new Customs and Excise legislation with the purpose of bringing customs control in line with the recommendations of the World Customs Organisation as per the Kyoto Convention. The new legislation seeks to modernise customs systems to make them more efficient and to enable implementation of self-compliance.”

 

JAPAN

Tadakatsu Sano

Jones Day

“The most significant development is in the field of security products export control regulations. The Japanese government had changed the export control policy of security products based on the policy of the ‘right of collective self-defence’ and the US-Japan security alliance. There are some disputes regarding the actual application of tariff line.”

 

CHINA & HONG KONG

Stephen Peng

JT&N

“For a long time, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) has made a concerted effort to increase customs revenue collection and to strengthen its regulation. Over the last 12 months, this effort followed an ongoing active pattern of customs audit and inspection across all major customs issues, including valuation, classification and processing trade compliance. Companies, both domestic and foreign, are facing increasing pressure on customs compliance, with failures on this front resulting in payment of deficient duties and taxes, fines or even penalties.”


CONTRIBUTORS

FisherBroyles, LLP

Jones Day

JT&N

KPMG

KPMG ehf.

KPMG Turkey

KStudio Associato (KPMG) Italy

Marval O’Farrell & Mairal

Webber Wentzel


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