New Zealand and Singapore launch initiative to ensure free flow of essential goods

New Zealand and Singapore launched a new trade initiative to ensure supply chain connectivity and the removal of blockages to trade in a list of essential products that includes medicines, medical and surgical equipment.

“Ensuring countries have the most straightforward and cost effective access possible to the essential goods needed to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic is crucial,” Trade and Export Minister David Parker said. 

David Parker and Singapore Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said: “This new initiative builds on the joint statement issued by Singapore and New Zealand last month, which has now been joined by seven other countries.

“The Declaration setting out the initiative includes a list of Covid-19 related products for which New Zealand and Singapore undertake to remove tariffs, not to impose export restrictions and to remove non-tariff barriers.  It also includes an undertaking to keep supply chains operating effectively for these products.”

There is increased global demand, in particular, for medical and hygiene products and some countries are restricting their exports of them. 

This is an “open plurilateral” initiative, so other countries can join at any point, and the two ministers said they encourage others to do so as soon as possible. 

“New Zealand and Singapore consider it crucial that during this pandemic, trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and food continues to flow freely.  We believe that global cooperation on trade can assist in dealing with this worldwide health crisis.”  

David Parker said nothing in the arrangement would prevent us ensuring we have sufficient medical equipment and supplies in New Zealand.

The Declaration includes a list of over 120 products, identified as being essential goods in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, for which participants undertake to remove tariffs. This list includes PPE equipment, medical equipment, nutritional products, medicines and hygiene supplies. The Declaration also calls for participants not to apply export restrictions on food and beverage products, and to facilitate trade in food and beverage.

Source: Beehive.gov.nz, 15 April 2020

WCO News – February 2015 Edition

WCO News - Coordinated Border Management Feb 2015Check out the latest WCO News – per usual a wealth of interesting customs and supply chain information:

  • WCO launches IRIS, an application exploiting open source information
  • Harmonized System amendments effective from 1 January 2017
  • Beginning the CBM process: the Botswana experience
  • Inter-institutionality – a distinctive feature of the Colombian AEO model
  • WCO Data Model: the bridgehead to connectivity in international trade
  • Implementing New Zealand’s Joint Border Management System

and a whole lot more…

Source: WCO

New Zealand Customs ‘Cash Dogs’ go International

Detector Dog Rajax demonstrates his cash-sniffing abilities during training at a NZ Customs facility

Detector Dog Rajax demonstrates his cash-sniffing abilities during training at a NZ Customs facility

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner today welcomed a new partnership between New Zealand, Hong Kong and Chinese Customs to develop cash detector dog capabilities in the region.

Officials from Hong Kong Customs and the General Administration of China Customs’ Anti-Smuggling Bureau have been in Auckland to learn how drug dogs are trained to detect cash, so they can progress similar programmes in their own Customs administrations.

“It’s fantastic we’re able to assist Hong Kong and China to build this special capability, as detecting undeclared or hidden cash is an increasing priority for many Customs authorities as evidence shows following the money trail can lead to cracking serious organised crime such as drug smuggling.

“Having Hong Kong and China Customs detector dogs sniff both drugs and cash will disrupt drug smuggling and money laundering by transnational syndicates, with flow-on benefits for us in New Zealand,” Ms Wagner says

New Zealand shares formal agreements and a close customs-customs operational relationships with both Hong Kong and China, with the agencies working together to target the illicit drug trade through cross-border efforts.

Officials spent a week getting an overview from Customs’ Source: NZ Government (contributed by M Reddy)

Single Electronic Window for New Zealand importers and exporters

Customs' JBMS will ultimately provide the Trade Single Window, through which importers and exporters can deal directly with government agencies, and Customs  and MPI can more ­effectively manage risks for goods crossing the border (credit: FTD Supply Chain Magazine)

Customs’ JBMS will ultimately provide the Trade Single Window, through which importers and exporters can deal directly with government agencies, and Customs
and MPI can more ­effectively manage risks for goods crossing the border (credit: FTD Supply Chain Magazine)

The Joint Border Management System (JBMS) programme is a replacement information system that will meet New Zealand’s future border management needs. Comprising a set of integrated information technology products, owned and hosted by Customs and jointly operated with the MPI, it will give Customs, MPI and industry better information and risk-assessment tools to protect New Zealand’s society, trade and biosecurity.

“An agile, effective and efficient border management system is essential for protecting New Zealand from economic, social and environmental harm, for maintaining and improving our international competitiveness, and for collecting over $9 billion a year of government revenue,” says Customs deputy comptroller Robert Lake. “We need a system that keeps us secure, can handle increasing numbers of people, goods and craft, and meets trading partners’ expectations of integrated systems.”

The JBMS will ultimately provide a single electronic point of contact – the Trade Single Window (TSW) – through which the import and export industry can deal directly with government agencies for customs and biosecurity requirements, and Customs and MPI can more effectively manage risks for goods crossing the border.

Companies will be able to submit a single application to both Customs and MPI to lodge import declarations. It’s faster and more efficient. And they can do so directly, not through a third party like they do now.”

The key functions of the Single Window were to have been progressively available to industry from April 2013, however, Customs said it would take three months longer than it originally anticipated for importers and exporters to experience any benefits from the initial $75 million investment in a new Joint Border Management computer system, JBMS.  IBM had been due to deliver the first tranche of JBMS, which is a joint initiative between Customs and the Primary Industries Ministry, last month. Customs deputy comptroller Robert Lake said the agencies had decided to push back the launch and deliver the project in stages. Click here for more details.

Risk management

Customs has taken a phased approach to designing and building the JBMS programme to ensure secure information management and to enable Customs to manage the risks of turning on a major new IT system. “Each stage – or tranche – will be thoroughly tested with industry until it is performing as expected. Industry will be able to migrate over to the new system over time. Our current systems will remain in place until the new system is fully proven,” Mr Lake adds.

Tranche 1 has been funded by the government and has been underway since July 2011. Costs of the JBMS are shared with industry, and cost recovery charges will start from 1 July.

“From April, the system will support border agencies to use shared information to work collaboratively in analysing travellers and goods. This will allow border agencies to target risk more accurately and will therefore provide greater consistency and certainty in the end-to-end border clearance process for all goods,” Mr Lake says.

In the second tranche, Customs plans to fully replace all background systems, and add further enhancements and the remaining business functions to the TSW. The second tranche is subject to further government approval and funding.

Trade Single Window

The TSW is one of the major components of the JBMS and will enable parties involved in international trade and transport to submit the craft and cargo clearance data that is required by New Zealand’s border agencies electronically, once, through one entry point. They will also be able to register themselves as users of the TSW, and maintain their own details.

As part of the first tranche, the TSW will include registration (of customers and users), most lodgements (craft and cargo clearances, such as import and export entries, and cargo reports), status enquiries and response functions. In the second tranche, Customs and MPI will investigate options for providing further functions, including remaining lodgements, a reference library, information updates, transaction history and other payments. Customs and MPI are also working on a plan to join up MPI’s animal products and plant export certification systems to the TSW.

“The TSW is expected to deliver significant benefits to importers, exporters and others in the international trade supply chain,” Mr Lake says. “These will include improved coordination of processes and earlier certainty of border agency requirements when advance data is provided. Compliant traders will be able to get their goods through the border with greater speed, consistency and certainty. However, the potential benefits for industry will depend on how individual participants use the information from the TSW to make their supply chains more effective and efficient.” The JBMS is expected to deliver significant benefits to the import and export industry over the next 10–15 years. Source: www.ftdmag.co.nz

For further information also visit New Zealand Customs website – Joint Border Management System (JBMS)

 

New Zealand – Contraband now available On-line

New Zealand Customs popular Contraband magazine is now available as an online publication. You can still however locate and link to previous publications that are downloadable in .pdf format. The latest edition includes articles on  –

  • What’s My Duty?, an import duty estimator to help people buying goods online know how much duty and GST they may be liable for.
  • China and NZ Customs to work more closely together on to combat the smuggling of pharmaceutical products used to manufacture methamphetamine.
  • Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) visit to New Zealand – commending the Service for its strong reputation for border management of Customs.

Source: New Zealand Customs Service

 

WCO lauds NZ Customs for its capacity building assistance

The Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO) commended New Zealand’s strong reputation for border management. During a recent visit by the WCO’s Secretary General, the NZ Customs Comptroller said that New Zealand takes its WCO responsibilities very seriously and works closely with the WCO to develop global standards for trade.This helps to ensure a stable trade environment for New Zealand businesses to operate in around the world.

The Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya noted that the WCO is impressed with the capacity building assistance NZ Customs has given its Pacific neighbours, and enjoyed discussing New Zealand’s valuable contribution to the WCO, with Customs and the Minister of Customs, the Hon Maurice Williamson. The Pacific is an important region for New Zealand and NZ Customs has recently worked with the Cook Islands to introduce new technology and systems to improve border security to help facilitate legitimate trade and travel.

“New Zealand has been an influential member of the WCO, and has world leading expertise, particularly with its involvement in the development of a standardised data model for trade,” said Mr Mikuriya. In recent years NZ Customs has included the development of a standardised customs data model that will be used in the Joint Border Management System (JBMS). This data model is unique as it incorporates biosecurity and food related information, and means for the first time, one data message can contain all information that border agencies require. This will streamline border processes for clients who will use the Trade Single Window when it is introduced next year. Source: NZ Customs.

Tobacco Wars Heating Up

Australian courts this week threw out the bid by tobacco conglomerates to block government from introducing plain packaging for cigarettes. Tobacco product distributors operating in Namibia have been banking on a victory in the Australian courts to strengthen their arguments against similar plans by the Namibian government. Namibia Gazetted the Tobacco Products Control Act of 2010 that introduced plain packaging and ban the use of words such ‘mild’ or ‘light’ on cigarette boxes or any other tobacco products sold in Namibia.

The world’s biggest and the Namibian market leader in tobacco products, British American Tobacco (BAT) has been fighting the Act with serious threats to take the government to court if it dared to implement the Act. BAT has been citing the Australian court case as an example of how far it is prepared to go to fight the Namibian government over what it says is tantamount to expropriation of its trademarks properties. BAT also says plain packaging takes away its trade rights to freely communicate to consumers the nature of their lawful products on offer.

The Australian government’s victory now exposes BAT, along with Japan’s Tobacco International (JTI) and Imperial Tobacco to similar laws across the world. Britain, Canada, New Zealand, China, France, India, South Africa, Norway and Uruguay are already considering implementing the plain packaging measures. Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) member states intend to adopt the generic Tobacco Products Control Act of South Africa that is in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s pressure on the use of tobacco products, through the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. BAT has been saying the proposed branding would exacerbate the illegal tobacco trade in Namibia where about 225 000 cigarettes are illegally sold every day.

BAT has a market share of about 85 percent of the Namibian tobacco market, selling just over 330 million cigarettes every year in the country. Namibians are said to smoke 75 000 packs of 20 cigarettes each per day or an equivalent of 1.5 million cigarettes each day. The court ruling in Australia makes Australia the first country in the world where cigarettes are sold in drab, olive coloured packets with graphic health warnings and no logos.

The Tobacco Products Control Act of 2010 also mandates the establishment of a fund from levies on sales of tobacco and other sources.The fund would partly use the money to pay for treatment of tobacco-related illnesses. The new proposed packaging features graphic pictures depicting the ill health associated with smoking. These range from stained teeth, throat cancer to damaged lungs and breast cancer with appropriate warnings underneath the picture. If the new legislation is implemented fully there would be a total blackout on advertising, promotion and any public relations activities around tobacco products or companies whose names are directly associated with tobacco products. Source: New Era, Namibia.

Awarding the SKA

So what does the awarding of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and Customs have in common? Sweet blow all as far as I was concerned until a colleague of mine, Roux Raath, pointed out one of the criteria on which the award was made. Reading the actual report one realises this has more to do with the fact that six African countries will be involved and the cross border movements are foreseen to be complex in contrast to movements between Australia and NZ. Therefore, this has less to do with the South African Customs administration than the Southern African geographical environment. The report also refers to duty and tax structures and these issues should perhaps find a home with the DTI as customs does not dictate these. Nonetheless, the fact remains that certain issues have been raised and these should be considered when strategies are devised to support the SKA project.

The SKA Site Advisory Committee (SSAC) reviewed the various customs systems and duty rates, the excise tax regimes and tax rates, and related issues such as import and export processes that will impact the SKA over its lifetime. A wide range of issues was considered since the SKA involves a large multinational investment of funds, materials, and services, including the provision of scientific and technical equipment, and personnel in various remote locations.

The SSAC reviewed the issues presented by the two candidates, including details related to the six diverse South African member countries; cross-border coordination and logistical issues presented by the South African proposal; and the diverse customs, excise, and regulatory structures in the two candidate sites. The SSAC also considered the long-standing Australia–New Zealand Closer Economic Relationship Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA) free-trade and economic cooperation agreement (allowing for the free flow of goods, services, and people between the two countries) and the absence of overall free-trade agreements among the six members of the South African consortium. The SSAC also reviewed the customs, free-trade, economic, and business environments in Australia and New Zealand and considered the written confirmation from the Australian government that there will be no Goods and Services Tax (GST) payable by the SKA in Australia. On the factor of Customs & Excise, the SSAC awarded the following points for each of the contending consortia – 13.3 for ANZ and 6.7 for South Africa.

To read the full report, download here!

 Related articles

Where Does the Chain of Custody Begin?

Here follows an article, published by Dr. James Giermanski, an internationally renowned expert in container and supply chain security, international transportation and trade issues. It deals with a crucial but mostly forgotten/unknown aspect of international supply chains – who packed the cargo?

Tracking, tracing, and custody are all generally accepted concepts involving the control of movement. All these concepts have in their fundamental cognitive structure the idea of path, corridor, multiple parts, flow, and coordination.

However, what is often omitted or overlooked is the fundamental sine qua non core principle of “beginning”. What is the beginning of a chain of custody? This article focuses on this core concept and the role it plays as the beginning of the connective custody and control process. Specifically, it addresses the significance of cargo stuffing, the concept of authorized or trusted agent, the means of connectivity, the legal role of the authorized agent, and the consequences of a connected and visible supply chain.

Cargo stuffing

Establishing and maintaining cargo integrity begins with stuffing the container at origin. A chain of custody – chronological documentation or paper trail – involves “the movement and location of physical evidence from the time it is obtained until the time it is presented in court.” As in a criminal case comparison, a supply chain “chain of custody” needs three types of essential assertions:

  1. That the cargo is what it purports to be and in the quantity stated;
  2. That the cargo was in the continuous possession or control by the carrier who took charge of the cargo from the time it was loaded in the container at origin until the time it is delivered at final destination; and
  3. That there is evidence of the identify of each person or entity who had access to it during its movement, and that the cargo remained in the same condition from the moment it was sealed in the container for transfer to the carrier that controlled possession until the moment it released the cargo into the receipted custody of another.
Trusted partner

It is imperative that the initial point of a connectivity process begins at the beginning! Loading cannot take place without a human agent. The agent could be the company’s forklift driver, the dispatcher, the loading dock supervisor, or even an authorizing manager who has a specific duty to verify the cargo and its quantity. It could even be a third party hired by the shipper, for instance, companies that currently provide inspection services around the world.

Various Customs programs discuss, in one way or the other, the concept that supply chain security begins at “stuffing”: the Secure Export Scheme Program (New Zealand); the Partners in Protection Program (Canada); the Golden List Program (Jordan); the Authorized Economic Operator Program (Japan); the Authorized Economic Operator Program (Korea); the Secure Trade Partnership Plus Program (Singapore); and the Authorized Economic Operator.

Establishing ‘connectivity’

Maintaining connectivity depends on the security program, software and hardware utilized. While no system is 100% effective, and one cannot depend on technology alone, there are ‘off-the-shelf’ container security devices (CSDs) that provide connectivity through a sophisticated, comprehensive chain of custody system that begins with loading the container at origin, monitoring it, and reporting on its integrity at the end of the global supply chain path, i.e. at final destination.

CSDs can include the identity of the trusted agent verifying the cargo at loading and the agent’s counterpart at destination. Both parties are electronically connected by a unique identifier to the smart container system along with bill of lading or booking information, or data needed by Customs authorities. Therefore, when the CSD is activated, the accountable party becomes the initiating element in the smart container security system.

Consequences of chain of custody – standards, laws and litigation

If a smart container is opened at destination by an equally accountable person and cargo is missing, and there were no breaches detected, recorded or reported, the accountable person at origin can face either disciplinary, or worse, criminal action by appropriate authorities.

This ESI becomes a source of evidence, should legal action follow. The concept of custody and control from origin to destination also supports Incoterms 2010, a publication of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) which provides the playbook of international rules involving international sales of goods. These new terms now contain security requirements for the shipper, making a chain of custody system essential for compliance. There are also changes coming for shippers, consignees, and vessel carriers with respect to carriage of goods by sea: the new Rotterdam Rules.

According to the UN General Assembly, the Rotterdam Rules are a “…uniform and modern global legal regime governing the rights and obligations of stakeholders in the maritime transport industry under a single contract for door-to-door carriage” (cf. American Shipper). The new door-to-door liability places the vessel carrier directly in a chain of custody. Instead of the vessel carrier filing what the shipper said is in the container, the vessel carrier will be automatically and really responsible for knowing what is in the container.

What are the benefits?

The shipper, the consignee, the carrier, and control and regulatory authorities all benefit from a chain of custody system that begins with the loading of the container at origin. CSDs incorporating the identity of the trusted agent at stuffing would assist law enforcement officials to comply with international security and trade standards, solve transhipment problems, impair illegal access to the cargo conveyance, improve supply chain efficiencies, aid in securing hazardous materials and other dangerous cargo movement, reduce counterfeiting, eliminate the in-bond problem of unauthorized container access, and improve bottom line revenue generation for the firms using them. Source: Supply Chain Digest.

CBP – An ode in modesty

There’s nothing like beating the breast and extolling the homeland’s unselfish generosity for the benefit of mankind, or am I being facetious? Today’s post on the US Customs and Border Protection‘s website titled “CBP Leads World Customs Organization on Natural Disaster Responsiveness” , is a case in point. The reader is left in no doubt as to who was responsible for recent developments that provide for a Customs role in natural disasters. I read with interest New Zealand Customs‘ role in the Christchurch earthquakes last year – very understated and with empathy for the survivors. The WCO consists over 177 affiliated customs administrations / border agencies each of whom make some form of contribution to it’s various committees and resulting accords or standards. So what if CBP made a major contribution, its a cheap shot to boast at the expense of others who might also have contributed, if not to the same extent. Read the article here!

New Zealand releases trade implementation guidelines for GOVCBR

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

Non-declaration of hazardous containers

MV Rena off New Zealand Coast of TaurangaIn this age of heightened security it remains remarkable how carriers still willfully take custody and/or load ‘goods’ for which the contents thereof are unclear. True, carriers and intermediaries (fowarders/brokers) will correctly point at the ‘shipper’ (exporter) for not disclosing the details correctly. It also needs be mentioned that the cargo handler (packer of the container) is really key in all of this. It is this entity who has knowledge of what is being stuffed into the container. There is much debate on this matter, and a whole lot more work to be done in ultimately pinning down the responsible party. Given this state of affairs, most Customs administrations are happy to lay the responsibility and liability for lawful clearance on the party responsible for cargo reporting, i.e. the entity which ‘cuts’ the manifest. I dare say that the terms of sale (incoterms) also have an influence in terms of risk and liability here which adds some complexity to decision-making in time of misfortune. Take for instance the recent grounding of the M/V Rena off New Zealand earlier this month, where it has recently come to light that the wreck contains at least 21 containers which were not properly recorded on the ship’s manifest. Read articles below.