ICC Document & publication

ICC recommendations for trade facilitation through effective customs duty relief programmes

ICC is actively addressing a wide range of international issues with the aim of improving processes associated with cross border trade. ICC believes that effective and accessible customs duty relief mechanisms are essential to the smooth operation of international trade.

Effective duty relief mechanisms are fundamental to international trade in goods on a global basis. All count ries will benefit from them — especially those burdened with the least efficient trading processes, either through infrastructure or managerial limitations. ICC is committed to assisting governments to realize the full benefits of international trade through effective trade facilitation measures that discourage both inefficient and artificially complex or burdensome border procedures. To realize these benefits for all parties, the concept of the unitary relief should be recognized as a global best practice.

Customs duty relief programmes in the context of trade facilitation

ICC’s preferred definition of “trade facilitation” involves improving the efficiency of processes associated with trading in goods across national borders. This requires a comprehensive and integrated simplification effort, aimed at reducing the cost of international trade transactions. It is important to ensure that only necessary activities are required, and take place in an efficient, transparent, and predictable manner, based on internationally accepted norms, standards and best practices.

Among the required processes are customs duty relief programmes. A country will usually adopt a core suite of customs duty reliefs to permit the import of goods for duty-free storage, for processing and re-export, and for temporary admission. This core suite might commonly be enhanced by a duty relief for returning items, whether or not after processing abroad; and less commonly, one for processing for subsequent import at reduced duty. The complexity of the administrative procedures required to access these relief programmes is a major factor in determining the take up, and efficient use, of the programmes.

ICC believes that even the largest organizations sometimes decline to adopt available programmes, simply because the administrative burden is too onerous. This may be because the administrative cost outweighs the benefit, or because the degree of complexity takes the risk of non-compliance to unacceptable levels.