Archives For EDI

Sost_Pakistan_Customs_and_Chinese_TrucksPakistan Customs’ experts are in China to make further progress on the establishment of direct Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) with the trusted and neighbouring country to reduce the incidences of revenue losses.

The sources told Customs Today that Chief Customs Automation Abdul Qadir, Director Majid Yousfani, Riaz Chaudhary and Azeem from PRAL flew to China on August 9 to hold series of meetings with the Chinese counterparts to make further progress on the EDI.

The sources said, that the EDI will help access trade documents on real time basis from computers of cross-border customs stations. The directorate had exchanged the technical documents with China for EDI, the sources said, adding that the Chinese Customs had given feedback and counter proposal on the technical documents.

In order to expedite finalisation of the EDI arrangement, earlier a meeting with the Chinese Customs for exchange of data relating to the certificate of origin between the two countries was held on February 2 to 4, 2015 in Beijing. And, this is the second meeting of Pakistan Customs officers with the Chinese Customs, sources added.

It is recalled here, that Federal Board of Revenue had issued an alert regarding mis-declaration in imports from China under 50 HS Codes. The Board also showed concerns on the un-warranted concessions granted under various SROs covering preferential or free trade agreements.

The Board had advised verification of suspected Certificates of Origin directly through the commercial missions of Pakistan abroad, discouraging mis-classification of goods to obtain concessions and extending benefits only to goods which strictly matched the description provided in respective SROs.

It may be mentioned, that the export data of China customs for CY 2013 was cross matched with the import data of Pakistan Customs for same period and it transpired that in respect of 376 tariff lines the import value declared before Pakistan Customs was short by $2.437 billion recorded by China Customs as export value to Pakistan.

Moreover, in respect of 13 tariff lines the import value declared before Pakistan Customs was in excess of $829 million that that recorded by China Customs as export value to Pakistan. This is indicative of possible mis-classification of those goods which attract higher rates of duty but are cleared as goods attracting lower rates. Source: CustomsToday

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Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, and Maria Palazzolo, Chief Executive Officer of GS1 Australia and GS1 Board Member, at the GS1 Global Forum 2013

Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, and Maria Palazzolo, Chief Executive Officer of GS1 Australia and GS1 Board Member, at the GS1 Global Forum 2013

GS1 is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and implementation of global specifications to manage the supply chain, including product identification codes, barcodes and business-to-business standards for the exchange of accurate data. After longstanding cooperation at the technical level, the WCO concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GS1 in 2007 to formalize cooperative ties.

At the invitation of GS1, the Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya, spoke at the GS1 Global Forum 2013 in Brussels on 18 February 2013 where he highlighted the increasing cooperation between the two organizations. Recalling the evolution of Customs with a heightened focus on data management for assessing risks in the supply chain, the Secretary General underlined the importance for Customs to explore the possibility of making use of supply chain specifications that are available in the trade, such as codes and specifications developed by GS1.

He specifically referred to the new WCO Economic Competitiveness Package to explain how Customs contributes to enhancing national competitiveness by facilitating trade using a risk management approach. As this requires the application of information technology, data and message standards, and consignment identifiers, it is important to employ existing technologies and tools in the trade supply chain, through a partnership with business.

Sharing a common interest in supply chain management, including track and trace systems, both organizations have been cooperating in many areas in a complementary manner, as the WCO facilitates Customs-to-Customs and Customs-to- business data exchange while GS1 also facilitates business-to-business data exchange.

Areas of cooperation between the two organizations include the work at the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) and the International Standards Organization (ISO) on standardization and specifications for supply chain management, the work on the Unique Consignment Reference Number (UCR) and the use of GS1 data for Customs risk assessment purposes.

The most recent collaboration includes the addition of a barcode function to the Interface Public Members (IPM) – the WCO’s information tool to fight violations of intellectual property rights at borders. Secretary General Mikuriya urged GS1 members to leverage the collaboration with the WCO at the global level by getting in touch with their respective local Customs administrations. GS1 members appreciated his speech and pledged to explore and enhance cooperation with Customs administrations. Source: WCO

For more of the latest news and happenings at the WCO, please follow the news feed alongside (right).

Australian Customs hosted visits from three international experts on trade data harmonisation - Bill Nolle, Dietmar Jost and Eric Sunstrum.

Australian Customs hosted visits from three international experts on trade data harmonisation – Bill Nolle, flanked by Dietmar Jost and Eric Sunstrum of the WCO.

It is with sadness we [WCO] learnt that our former colleague, the former Chairperson of the DMPT passed away on 29 December 2012 after a brief period of illness. He was fighting a very aggressive cancer.

Bill Nolle was a fabulous contributor to our [WCO] area of work and he has left his imprint in many aspects of our work at the Data Model Project Team and the Information Management Sub Committee. Version 3.0 of the WCO Data Model owes its richness and quality thanks to Bill’s splendid contribution. Bill authored the WCO Single Window Data Harmonization Guidelines/ UN/CEFACT Recommendation 34.  We [WCO] owe it to Bill the methodology of Gather-Define-Analyze-Reconcile for data simplification and harmonization. Bill brought passion to his work. His speeches and interventions were always intense and engaging and he will be missed in his professional environment.

His legacy includes an eLearning module in which you can hear him explain how data harmonization was carried out in Jordan. The module remains a favorite for the professional users and trainers alike.

Bill retired from US Customs and Border Protection where he worked for 30 years. He and his wife moved to the Outer Banks from Frederick, MD in 2009, to be near the beach that he loved. At the time of his death he was employed by Nathan Associates Incorporated and Crown Agents as a consultant. Bill travelled extensively during his tenures with US Customs and Border Protection, Nathan Incorporated, and Crown Agents, making friends on each continent in the world.

The following obituary was posted by a colleague in Jordan –

Bill has been a breath of fresh air that visited our country (Jordan), every once in a while as Customs Consultant. He was an inspiration and a driving force to all,  giving advice when needed, and always willing to help. A proud husband, father and (Opa), that we felt his family was our own, Not to forget, a professional Pita Bread baker,  we were hoping to someday try. One would think, God loved him so,  and wanted him closer more. Bill will always be in our hearts,  a father figure, a teacher, and a colleague holding one of the greatest hearts I’ve known. My deepest condolences to his loving family, and may he rest in peace.   Posted by: Juliette Najjar – Amman – Jordan – Friend / Colleague   Jan 17, 2013.

Sources: WCO, Gallup Funeral Services, and www.tributes.com

WCO - Globally Networked Customs

With the WCO Council Sessions later in June this year, it is opportune to discuss perhaps one of the single most important developments in Customs Inc, the “Globally Networked Customs (GNC)” concept which aims to realize connectivity, data exchange, and cooperative work amongst the world’s customs administrations.

GNC is set to play a very important role in promoting trade facilitation, enhancing trade efficiency and safeguarding trade security; it will also greatly influence international rules and the development of the customs end-to-end operational process. By and large the SAFE Framework, WCO Data Model and the Revised Kyoto Convention provide specific standards for the development and implementation of national customs legal, procedural and automated systems. It is the GNC that will in future “industrialise” and harmonise Customs-2-Customs (C2C) information exchange requirements which underpin a country’s bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

Briefly the need for GNC arises from the exchanges of information underpinning International Agreements in the commercial domain. These take time and are costly to implement. They are all different from each other creating diversity both for Members and trade. This is because each one of these agreements is built anew, handcrafted and tailor-made to meet the needs at hand. This approach will not scale up and countries broking an increasing number of International Customs Agreements are already encountering difficulty to maintain their delivery plan in line with their international policy ambitions. Below you will find links to 2 documents explaining the GNC. More information on the GNC will be provided once approved by the WCO’s Policy Commission later on in June 2012. Source: WCO.

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WCO-SACU IT Interconnectivity and Data Exchange Conference

On the occasion of International Customs Day, in January earlier this year, the World Customs Organisation dedicated 2012 as the year “Connectivity”, which encapsulates people connectivity, institutional connectivity and information connectivity among the members of the global Customs community.

Over the last week and a half delegates from the WCO, SACU, UNCTAD, SADC and COMESA have been hosted at SARS, Pretoria to discuss and deliberate over an approach to implement ‘IT connectivity’ within the Southern African region. During the first week representatives from UNCTAD, SACU and SARS were briefed on important developments at the WCO on IT-Interconnectivity and Information Exchange. We were privileged to have Mr. Satya Prasad Sahu, Technical officer from the WCO – a leading expert in all matters of ICT in international customs matters – present the developments towards finalisation of a future international customs standard called “Globally Networked Customs” (GNC). It entails a structured approach that will enable customs authorities to formulate and document bilateral or regional ‘standards’ on a variety of Customs-to-Customs topics, for instance Authorised Economic Operators, Cross Border Information Exchange, Risk Management, etc. A representative from UNCTAD presented a synopsis of the proposed ‘cloud computing solution’ which the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) plans to pilot between Namibia and Botswana along the TKC route in the next few months. During the course of this week, delegates , under the guidance of Satya, prepared a proposed approach for information exchange between members of the Southern African Customs Region. This document is based on the GNC Utility Block structure (defined by the ad Hoc Committee on Globally Networked Customs at the WCO) and served as the basis for discussion for Week 2.

Mr. SP Sahu (WCO) and delegates from SACU SecretariatWeek 2 saw the arrival of customs and IT representatives from COMESA, SADC, UNCTAD, SACU as well as a delegation from Mozambique Customs. Mr. Sahu was invited to chair the session, given his vast experience on the subject matter as well as international experience in national and regional customs ICT programmes. Delegates were treated to various lectures on the GNC, a comprehensive overview of developments on ASYCUDA (Customs solution developed by UNCTAD), various updates from within the customs region – Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and SARS. Beyers Theron informed delegates of ongoing developments of the SARS Customs Modernisation Programme as well as key implications for neighbouring countries. SARS presented a live demonstration of SARS’ Service Manager solution, navigating through all the functionality now available to SARS Customs officials. Of significant interest to all was the new iPod inspection tool. This technology is given prominent feature in the latest edition of WCO News.

A large portion of the week was, however, spent on deliberating the proposed scope and content of the draft Utility Block on Information Exchange in the Southern African Region. Significant progress was been made to attain first, a common understanding of the scope as well as the implications this has for participating countries. Delegates will return home with a product with which to create awareness and solicit support in their respective countries. Over the next few months SARS will engage both SACU and SADCOM (combined SADC and COMESA trading blocs) to establish firm commitments for information exchange with customs administrations in these regions. This conference is significant for SARS and South Africa as a whole as it provides a uniform, standardised and practical approach for engagement with other international trading partners. To view photographs of the conference please click here!

WCONews Edition February 2012Herewith a link to the latest edition of WCO News, providing a wealth of customs news and developments from across the globe. This edition focuses almost entirely on regional initiatives involving C-2-C information exchange. On pages 20 to 22 you’ll read about new developments emerging on customs inter-connectivity and information exchange in the Southern African Region. At this time, a conference lead by the WCO, involving representatives from UNCTAD, SACU, SADC and COMESA and SARS is taking place in Pretoria to establish a firm framework for introduction of customs information exchange. I will devote a dedicated article on these developments shortly, as this has implications for the business community as well. Also, don’t miss the feature on South Africa’s modernisation developments, pages 29 and 30. Besides the usual editorials this edition includes –

  • WCO Secretary General launches Year of Connectivity.
  • Evolving technology landscape and its impact on Customs.
  • Latest developments in Latin America, Southern Africa and Europe.
  • West Africa implements airport task forces to fight drug trafficking.
  • South Africa to roll out mobile Customs controls.
  • Operation “Short Circuit” successes and challenges.
  • WCO Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate

SAD Story – Part 2

February 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

What is clear in regard to modern day business is the fact that ‘harmonisation’ in the international supply chain is essentially built around ‘data’. E-commerce has been around for decades, plagued by incompatibilities in messaging standards, and computer software, network and hardware architecture. However, one of the key inhibitors has been organisations and administrations having to adhere to domestic ‘dated’ legislation and so-called standard operating procedures – seemingly difficult to change, and worst of all suggesting that law has to adapt!

A lot has had to do with the means of information presentation (format) and conveyance (physical versus electronic) rather than the actual information itself. Standards such as the UN Layout key sought to standardise or align international trade and customs documentation with the view to simplifying cross-border trade and regulatory requirements. In other words, each international trade document being a logical ‘copy and augmentation’ of a preceding document.  This argument is still indeed valid. The generally accepted principle of Customs Administrations is to maximise its leverage of latent information in the supply chain and augment this with national (domestic) regulatory requirements – within a structured format.

The Single Administrative Document (SAD) was itself borne out of this need. The layout found acceptance with UNCTAD’s ASYCUDA which used it as a marketing tool (in the 1990’s) in promoting ‘What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get’ (WYSIWYG). It certainly provided a compelling argument for under-developed countries seeking first-time customs automation. Yet, the promise of compatibility with other systems and neighbouring customs administrations has not lived up to this promise.

Simultaneous to document harmonisation, we find development of the Customs data model, initially the work of the Group of 7 (G7) nations at the United Nations. Its mandate was to simplify and standardize Customs procedures Customs procedures. In 2002, the WCO took over this responsibility and after further refinement the G7 version became version 1 of the WCO Customs Data Model. Once more a logical progression lead to the inclusion of security and other government regulatory requirements. This has culminated in the recent release of WCO Data Model 3. Take note the word “Customs” is missing from the title, indicating that Version 3 gives effect to its culminating EDI message standard – Government Cross Border Regulatory (GOVCBR) message – an all inclusive message standard which proposes to accommodate ALL government regulatory reporting requirements.

Big deal! So what does this mean? The WCO’s intent behind GOVCBR is as follows –

  • Promoting safe and secure borders by establishing a common platform for regulatory data exchange enabling early sharing of information.
  • Helping co-operating export and import Customs to offer authorized traders end end-to to- end premium procedures and simple integrated treatment of the total transaction.
  • Contributing to rapid release.
  • Elimination redundant and repetitive data submitted by the carrier and the importer.
  • Reducing the amount of data required to be presented at time of release.
  • Reducing compliance costs.
  • Promoting greater Customs Co-operation.

Undertaking such development is no simple matter, although a decision in this direction is a no brainer! Over a decade’s work in the EDI space in South Africa is certainly not lost. Most of the trade’s electronic goods declaration and cargo reporting requirements remain intact, all be they require re-alignment to meet Data Model 3 standard. Over and above this, the matter of government regulatory requirements (permits, certificates, prohibitions and restrictions, letters of authority, etc.) will require more ‘political will’ to ensure that all authorities administering regulations over the importation and exportation of goods are brought into the ‘electronic space’. Some traction is already evident here largely thanks to ITAC and SA Reserve Bank willingness and capability to collaborate. In time all remaining authorities will be brought on board to ensure a true ‘paperless’ clearance process.

So, I digress somewhat from the discussion on the SAD. However, the bottom line for all customs and border authorities, traders and intermediaries is that ‘harmonisation’ of the supply chain operation follows the principal and secondary data required to administer ALL controls via a process of risk assessment, to facilitate release including any intervention required to ensure the compliance of import and export goods. As such even legislative requirements need to enable ‘harmonisation’ to occur otherwise we end up with a non-tariff barrier, uncertainty in decision-making, and a business community unable to capitalise on regional and international market opportunities. Positively, the draft SA Customs Control Bill makes abundant reference to reporting – of the electronic kind.

In Part 3, I will discuss regional ‘integration’ and the desire for end-to-end transit clearance harmonisation.

New Zealand Customs ServiceThe New Zealand Customs Service has recently released draft guidelines for it’s Trade Single Window (TSW), which is currently under development. This will require all potential users to be able to send and receive electronic messages. The introduction of the TSW therefore means that organisations will need to submit lodgement messages that meet the WCO3 data model. Current message format for import entries, export entries, inward and outward cargo reports, will be accepted for 18 months after TSW is introduced (likely to be in the first quarter of 2013). However, following that 18-month period, all users of TSW will need to have adopted the new NZ WCO version 3 data model for messages.

New Zealand Customs expects that some users of TSW may adopt the new messages earlier to take advantage of the benefits, which include the ability to submit cargo manifest and Customs data in one message.To understand the new messages, a draft set of message implementation guidelines is now available for consultation and feedback from software developers and companies intending to use the TSW on the following draft messages:

  • Advance Notice of Arrival
  • Advance Notice of Departure
  • Cargo Report Export
  • Excise Declaration
  • Inward Cargo Report
  • Import Declaration
  • Outward Cargo Report
  • Border Agency Response Message.

Message implantation guidelines for the new export declaration is still be drafted, and will be made available as soon as possible.

Five main government agencies operate at the border – the Customs Service, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Department of Labour, the Ministry of Transport, and the Department of Internal Affairs. With the participation of almost 20 other associated agencies, they work to prevent the traffic of prohibited goods and materials in and out of the country. They also collect government revenue, promote travel and trade, support New Zealand’s national interests, and uphold international laws and agreements. Now, as the border sector grows more complex and volumes of goods and travellers increase, a new era of inter-agency collaboration aims for more control, easier flows, and greater efficiency. Source – New Zealand Customs Service

The continuous development in international communication media together with the never ending expansion of the global trade arena have impacted both positively and negatively on international contractual dispute resolution. It is common cause that once a dispute has been characterised as of a contractual nature and the lex fori has been established, the next step is to ascertain which law is the lex causa or so called “Proper Law” of the agreement.

This article is focused on the assertion of the proper law of an agreement, after it has been established that the lex fori is South African law, in situations where parties  electronically concluded an agreement and whilst doing so omitted to exercise their autonomy to record the law which they are intent on governing the agreement, alternatively in situations where one cannot establish whether the parties contemplated and tacitly implied that a specific legal system would govern the agreement at the time when their agreement was concluded when the lex fori was already established as South African law. Read the full paper here!

WCO 60 Years AnniversarySecretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya, is pleased to announce that 2012 will be dedicated to promoting connectivity, including enhanced cooperation and communication, under the slogan “Borders divide, Customs connects”.

“Connectivity encompasses people-to-people, institutional, and information linkages that underpin and facilitate the achievement of Customs’ main goals,” said the Secretary General. “This theme is particularly relevant as the WCO prepares to commemorate its 60th anniversary in 2012,” he added.

The Year of Connectivity will be launched on International Customs Day, celebrated annually by the global Customs community on 26 January in honour of the inaugural session of the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) which took place on 26 January 1953.

In 1994, the CCC adopted the informal working name “World Customs Organization” to better reflect its worldwide growth in membership which now totals 177 Customs administrations.

Customs and its stakeholders are urged to be innovative and creative in taking forward the connectivity theme in all its facets throughout 2012. The WCO invites the Customs community to diarise 26 January. Source WCO.

WCODMV3 Technical BrochureGovernments around the world have realized that rapid economic growth cannot be achieved in an environment where international trade processes are inefficient and cumbersome. Over the past two decades, serious attention has been devoted to the modernization of international trade and cross-border regulatory procedures. Countries have committed substantial resources to national projects in the areas of customs automation and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) infrastructure.

Electronic ‘Single Window’ services delivery is now being demanded in several countries. Based on the principle of joined-up government services, the ‘Single Window’ environment has the potential to deliver transformational advantages to business by simplifying and unifying touch-points between members of the trade and the different government departments involved in cross-border regulatory procedures. In addition, new demands on supply chain security and facilitation have emerged, leading to the establishment of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards.

This booklet provides a brief introduction to WCO Data Model Version 3.0. It explains the scope of the Model, its relationship with other international instruments such as the Revised Kyoto Convention, and its alignment with widely used international standards. The booklet is aimed at project leaders and Information Technology architects from Customs administrations and other cross-border regulatory agencies. The World Customs Organization hopes that this booklet will create a proper understanding of the value of the WCO Data Model as an indispensable instrument in projects that address modernization of regulatory agencies including Customs. Source: WCO.

Please visit: http://wcoomdpublications.org/data-model-3.html for pricing and conditions of online WCO Data Model usage and support. Available for Customs administrations and Trade Practitioners.

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Cargo Dwell Time in Durban

September 28, 2011 — 2 Comments

An acquaintance in the forwarding industry brought this working paper to my attention. Titled “Cargo Dwell Time in Durban“, it is very useful reading for logistics operators, Customs and government agencies, and policy makers. The object of the working paper attempts to identify the main reasons why cargo dwell time in Durban port has dramatically reduced in the past decade to a current average of between 3 and 4 days. A major customs reform; changes in port storage tariffs coupled with strict enforcement; massive investments in infrastructure and equipment; and changing customer behavior through contractualization between the port operator and shipping lines or between customs, importers, and brokers have all played a major role. The main lesson for Sub-Saharan Africa that can be drawn from Durban is that cargo dwell time is mainly a function of the characteristics of the private sector, but it is the onus of public sector players, such as customs and the port authority, to put pressure on the private sector to make more efficient use of the port and reduce cargo dwell time. The Working Paper is the product of the World Bank’s Africa Region, Transport Unit, being part of a larger effort  to provide open access to its research and make a contribution to development policy discussions around the world. Policy Research Working Papers are also posted on the Web at http://econ.worldbank.org

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Durban Container TerminalIt has been enquired by some whether or not Transnet‘s Pre-Advice for Export Container’s initiative is aligned with SARS Customs Modernisation. First of all its important to delineate the process and requirement. Transnet Port Terminal’s Pre-Advice is an electronic exchange (COPARN) between the carrier and TPT. As such it is an arrangement which satisfies the Terminal’s advance reporting requirements of impending export container delivery to a container terminal. In time it will feed Customs’ gate-in reporting requirements.

From a Customs perspective, this initiative is an important development which fills another piece of the supply chain puzzle. As such it is not in contradiction to anything planned for by SARS – rather its somewhat ahead of Customs at this point in time. It is just not possible to synchronise inter-departmental and inter-company project developments. Each has its own financial/procurement cycles and operational deliverables, and in certain cases legal prescription. At the same time it is true that supply chain operators bear the brunt of untimely and non-coordinated initiatives. Nonetheless, they are important while at the same time vital for the country’s future economic growth and stability.

Following the recent posts on this subject, SARS took to ‘walking the talk’ this week. Over the last month a significant increase in registrations with Customs as well as vast improvements in successful electronic manifest data submission has occurred, mainly in the sea freight industry, however. This week’s initiative took the campaign to the hub of air cargo in southern africa – Oliver Tambo International Airport. Meetings were arranged with various stakeholders and industry bodies to reinforce customs cargo reporting requirements. The campaign was intended to offer an alternative approach to the usual formalities of the bi-monthly modernisation meetings. If necessary, further campaigns will be undertaken leading up to the mandatory enforcement of electronic manifest and cargo report submission for air and sea cargo operators in the very near future. SARS will soon be announcing a final cut-off date for voluntary registration for ACM and electronic submission, after which punitive measures will be introduced. Watch the Customs modernisation webpage for further details.