appropriate use of donor funds provided for import support.
Main features of PSI programs
Goods are inspected by the PSIcompany in the country of export before they are shipped to the country of destination, in order to verify that the price paid by the importer is reasonable and that the goods conform with the specifications of the contract (quality and quantity). Price verification focuses on the declared invoice price of the goods, comparing this with “the price(s) of identical or similar goods offered for export from the same country of exportation at or about
In response to problems related to valuation, some countries have implemented preshipment inspection (PSI) programs. Based on an inspection of the goods in the country of export, a report of findings, including an assessment of value, is issued for use in preparation of the import declaration. PSI programs have had some degree of success in those countries where there are sound procedures to ensure that the PSI reports are used and cooperation between the customs administration and the PSIcompany is good. Nevertheless, PSI programs are expensive (with
inspection (PSI) services or some variant on this theme. PSIcompanies provide up-to-date price comparison data and physical inspection in the country of export, for customs administrations faced with unscrupulous importers and unreliable officials. PSI is recognized under the WTO. However, the services are expensive (around 1percent of the value of the goods inspected) and the results have been mixed in the countries that have used the services. Therefore, there should be a careful study of the costs and benefits of PSI before a country decides to use the service
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 Zacchaeus153 (who was corrupt but, happily, reformed). And the profession is still in a state of change—perhaps more so, indeed, than ever.
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.
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.
In addition to the valuation problems addressed in the previous chapters, there are two other areas in which customs systems are commonly vulnerable to significant abuse. The first is in the duty relief regimes that are commonly provided to ensure that—consistent with the basic trade policy objective of imposing import tariffs only on domestic consumption and production—goods in transit, and goods used to produce exports, do not bear duty. The second is in the provision of exemptions from duty often extended, however unwisely, to particular goods, persons, or activities. This chapter and the next—which focuses on the special issues associated with transit—deal with the associated problems of control.
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
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.
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.