Archives For Import and Export

Nigeria Trade Hub 2Anyone familiar with the import and export business in Nigeria will recall how tedious the process used to be. It could take days or even weeks to complete due to ceaseless documentation that importers, exporters and their agents had to endure with the various regulatory agencies. Now, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has developed a web-based application known as the Nigeria Trade Hub Portal, simplifying the entire process and providing information and guidance for international trade business processors in the areas of import, export and transit trade.

The www.nigeriatradehub.gov.ng portal, a non-restrictive and is an intuitive and interactive platform for classifying goods. Through it, trade processors are enabled to find exact Harmonised System Codes (HS Codes) required for related tariffs and duties.

This latest technology is expected to enhance compliance by traders and avail them the required information on tariff in areas like the prohibited items and taxes/levies due for payment upon importation. The application is also designed to touch on the aspect of trade facilitation such that trade processors can access information from all related government agencies. Guidelines and procedures for obtaining permits, licences and certificates of specified commodity and country of origin that a trade will require for business processing are also available on the portal.

The Nigeria Trade Hub portal allows traders to convert currencies to exchange rates set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on a monthly basis, make payments, simulate tax and access the CPC Code. The application goes further to provide the tax and duties payable on any particular item, whilst presenting the user with the documents, i.e., the named permits or certificates required for the product, the issuing agency, the processing cost as well as the duration (no of days) for processing. This empowers the trader and provides them with sound information to assist them in competing on the international market.

A mobile Android App is also available on the Google Play store, and other platforms are to be rolled out soon. Source: Nigeria Trade Hub, Suleiman Uba Gaya and Valentina Minta (West Blue Consulting).

NigerianCustoms-BadgeAs part of plans to consolidate on its modernisation efforts for eventual take-over from the service providers at the expiration of the extended contract by June 2013, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it has developed a web-based application to provide information and guidance for international trade business processors in the areas of import, export and transit trade.

The portal is a non-restrictive online medium and an intuitive and interactive platform for classifying goods, a statement from the Customs spokesman, Wale Adeniyi said yesterday. The portal was developed by the service’s technical partners, nominated officers as well as other stakeholders, it said.

Through the platform, trade processors are enabled to find exact Harmonized System Codes (HS Codes) required for related tariffs and duties. It is expected that the platform will enhance compliance by traders and avail them the required information on tariff, prohibited items as well as taxes/levies due for payment upon importation.

Adeniyi explained also that the application has been designed to boost trade facilitation by granting trade processors access to information from all related government agencies. “Guidelines and procedures for obtaining permits, licences and certificates of specified commodity and country of origin that a trade will require for business processing is available on the portal,”he said. He added that the portal further allows traders to convert currencies to exchange rates set by the Central Bank of Nigeria on a monthly basis, make payments and simulate tax. Source: The Daily Trust

The US Bureau for Customs and Border Protection  has money to run commercial trade processing system (ACE) but not expand it. Customs and Border Protection has US $140 million to operate and maintain a commercial trade processing system, but there’s no money in the 2012 budget to further develop the program. The lack of development money, particularly for the simplified entry process, has caused concern amongst business community members. Simplified entry is something that Customs and the trade community are looking for to further automate import processing and lower transaction costs. Source: USCBP

South African shippers take heart, this is a worldwide phenomenon. Check out the article below on how US shippers are addressing the issue.

Is there a foolproof method for importers or consignees to maintain confidentiality of identifying information listed on shipping manifests? Unfortunately, the short answer is “no.” While an importer or consignee may request that US Customs treat its identifying information as confidential, the infinite number of variations of this information (e.g., spelling of company name) precludes confidentiality for each possible variation.

There are, however, steps that importers and consignees can take to minimize risk in this area. Under federal law, the public may collect manifest data at every port of entry. Moreover, reporters may collect and publish names of importers from vessel manifest data unless an importer/shipper requests confidentiality. Specifically,

[a]n importer or consignee may request confidential treatment of its name and address contained in inward manifests, to include identifying marks and numbers. In addition, an importer or consignee may request confidential treatment of the name and address of the shipper or shippers to such importer or consignee. 19 CFR 103.31.

As many importers and consignees have learned, however, confidentiality is not assured even CBP grants such a request. A bill of lading may often contain a variant of a company name, and if that variant is not included on the confidentiality request, confidentiality will likely not apply to the information on that particular manifest. For example, if the John Smith Corporation requests confidentiality for its corporate name, and a manifest lists “J. Smith Corporation” or “John Smith Corp., Inc.”, confidentiality would not technically apply since these names were not within the scope of the confidentiality request. Nevertheless, the trade may take steps to mitigate this. To ensure the broadest confidentiality exemption, an importer or consignee may consider including in the confidentiality application:

  • Every variation of the names that has been used previous shipping documents
  • Likely variations of the name
  • Misspellings of the company name
  • Any D/B/A or A/K/A previously used
  • Names of sister companies, including those in other countries
  • All company addresses

Even if an importer or consignee diligently follows these suggestions, confidentiality is not 100% guaranteed. One incorrect keystroke by someone entering data in a document somewhere in the supply chain can result in a “new” variation of a company name that is not covered by a grant of confidentiality.

US Customs and the trade have had discussions about the shortcomings in this process. Perhaps that is why CBP has for the time being disabled an online form used to make confidentiality requests (NOTE: requests can still be mailed to CBP as specified in the regulations). To tighten up this process, one possible solution is to leverage IRS/EIN numbers instead of relying on guessing at spelling of names. Source: CustomsNow Blog