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Mr. Michael Keen

The position of customs officer may not be quite the oldest profession in the world, but its lineage is ancient: the Bible refers to a customs collector called Zacchaeus 153 (who was corrupt but, happily, reformed). And the profession is still in a state of change—perhaps more so, indeed, than ever. As we have seen in this book, customs administrations face a range of pressing challenges: securing revenues in the face of continued expansion in the volume of trade and the complications associated with regional trade agreements, rooting out corruption, coping

François Corfmat and Adrien Goorman

contradicts, however, the principle of quick refunds and can be a disadvantage as the manufacturers may have to wait a considerable period of time, thereby reducing their working capital. 101 Individual drawback can lend itself to corruption insofar as its implementation involves direct contact between importer and customs collector. The proper response to this, however, is to move—as a key part of the overall modernization strategy described in this book—away from face-to-face contact and toward audit-based methods of control. 102 When it concerns other forms

Mr. Michael Keen

Abstract

This paper, based on the considerable practical experience of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, sets out a successful strategy for modernizing customs administration. The essence is to establish transparent and simple rules and procedures, and to foster voluntary compliance by building a system of self-assessment supported by well-designed audit policies. Having set out this strategy--and its benefits--the paper discusses in depth what is required in terms of trade policy, valuation procedures, dealing with duty reliefs and exemptions, controlling transit movements, organizational reform, use of new technologies, private sector involvement, and designing incentive systems for an effective customs administration.

James T. Walsh

Abstract

Most customs administrations are undertaking reform of their operations—even the most advanced see modernization as a continuing process—with change being driven by a desire to achieve the objectives of revenue collection, trade policy administration, and interdiction in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Reform is ongoing, with each customs administration at a different point on the reform spectrum. “The old maxim that ‘the only constant is change’ is no longer a clever statement of contradiction but a dominant reality of business life.”61

François Corfmat

Abstract

A central element in reforming customs administration is the streamlining of basic procedures, with the aim of enhancing revenue and quickening customs clearance operations. This chapter considers the three main areas of the customs process prior to release of goods from the point of entry that typically require attention: the control of manifests, the assessment and verification of duties due, and procedures for the payment and collection of those amounts.

François Corfmat and Adrien Goorman

Abstract

Goods being carried under transit are generally not subject to the payment of duties and taxes, provided the conditions laid down by the customs administration are complied with.109 Customs transit systems are designed to facilitate the movement of goods crossing the territory of one or more states without jeopardizing revenue through diversion of such goods to the domestic market. To do this, while avoiding excessively burdensome and costly formalities, a balance has to be struck between the requirements of the customs authorities and those of the transport operators. This chapter considers how this might best be done.110

François Corfmat and Patricio Castro

Abstract

In the last 40 years, computers have become an essential tool in the administration of customs control. They are used to speed up the processing of information, ensure accurate interpretation and application of tariff law, control manual labor costs, focus on specific target consignments, encourage compliance by traders, and improve the quality as well as the timeliness of data on external trade. While it is thus a necessary part of modern customs administration, computerization alone is not enough to bring about an effective modern approach to customs administration.

Patricio Castro and James T. Walsh

Abstract

This chapter outlines the type of organizational structure that is required to deliver effectively and efficiently a customs administration program: a decentralized structure consisting of headquarters, regional, and local offices. It then discusses current trends that are emerging in organizing customs (and tax) administrations.

James T. Walsh

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter137 is to outline an approach to promoting integrity—that is, reducing corruption—in customs administrations. It does not deal with the economic impact of such practices,138 but instead provides a framework for changing the incentive structure and for establishing the legal and administrative procedures that are necessary to detect, punish, and reduce such undesirable behavior.139