Trade & investment

Six reasons why ICC is celebrating International Customs Day

  • 26 January 2016
ATA Carnet

To remain competitive in an increasingly integrated global economy, businesses need to be able to rely on efficient Customs regimes and smooth logistics when exporting and importing goods.

That is why ICC is celebrating International Customs Day, dedicated this year to promoting the digitalization of Customs process under the slogan “Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement.”

Following we highlight six ways in which the world business organization is helping to promote trade facilitation and customs modernization, and helping businesses counter some of the border challenges they face today.

Working with the World Customs Organization (WCO)

ICC and the World Customs Organization (WCO) share a commitment to harmonize customs procedures and practices. Our longstanding partnership dates back to the 1950’s when the two organizations declared support for the modernization of Customs as a core means of enhancing supply chains and economic competitiveness.

In 2015, ICC contributed to the development of the World Customs Organization’s Customs-Business Partnership Guidance which offers step-by-step advice for developing sustainable engagement between customs authorities and the private sector.

Natural allies on Trade Facilitation

Through the ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation, ICC provides input to the WCO on a number of technical issues including Customs Classification (in the WCO Harmonized System Committee) and Customs Valuation (in the WCO Technical Committee on Customs Valuation). On a strategic level ICC and the WCO work together to address the Customs challenges and opportunities identified by traders.

In 2015, ICC provided perspectives on the inappropriate use of Customs valuation databases to set minimum or reference pricing for imports. ICC has also been  engaged from the start in the WCO Working Group on the implementation of the World Trade Organization’s landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Given that the agreement deals almost entirely with Customs-related topics, ICC works closely with the WCO to ensure the TFA’s successful implementation.

Practical guidance on international taxation

ICC proposals for more coherent tax and customs revenue collection were included in the WCO Guide to Customs Valuation and Transfer Pricing released in 2015 as part of a WCO Revenue Package. The guide provides concrete guidance on revenue collection to governments around the globe and aims to harmonize revenue collection between customs and tax authorities.

ICC also continues to support the efforts of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations towards further coherence of tax and customs administrations.

ATA Carnets – a passport for goods

Administered by ICC through its World Chambers Federation (WCF), the ATA Carnet is a tool for the temporary duty-free and tax-free admission of goods. The Carnet works like a passport for goods, removing the need for exporters to provide Customs authorities with the otherwise necessary guarantees required for goods to cross borders. Today, the ATA System is in force in 75 countries with over 178,000 ATA Carnets, covering hundreds of thousands of Customs transactions, issued  worldwide every year for goods valued at US$25 billion.

From computers and prototype cars to prehistoric relics and seismic equipment, Carnets are issued for all kinds of goods including commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for trade fairs and exhibitions.

Certificates of Origin – facilitating trusted trade

Every country in the world considers the origin of imported goods when determining the duty that will be applied to the goods or, in some cases, whether the goods may be legally imported at all. Certificates of Origin (CO) are important international trade documents attesting that goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. Millions are issued every year.

ICC through its World Chambers Federation provides an international accreditation chain system for chambers of commerce, the principal agent in the delivery of certificates and has established international standards, rules and procedures that reinforce the trust and integrity of the CO Chain, to the benefit of traders and Customs administrations alike.

Incoterms® Rules – the daily language of trade

ICC’s famous Incoterms® rules are accepted as the global standard for the interpretation of the most common terms used in contracts for the international sale of goods. Incorporated in contracts for the sale of goods worldwide, they provide guidance to importers and exporters helping trading partners to avoid costly misunderstandings by clarifying the tasks, costs and risks involved in the delivery of goods from sellers to buyers.

To learn more about ICC trade tools that facilitate cross-border transactions visit: trade facilitation.

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