The historic growth in world trade, large container ships and information technology have triggered profound changes in international trade. A few years ago, customs officers at the border were meticulously checking goods and documents before releasing a shipment to the trader. A business could be confident that a shipment that had cleared customs complied with all applicable regulations. Today, to reduce congestion and give the trade quick access to their goods, customs have introduced risk management principles and a large number of shipments clear customs automatically. Controls have moved from the border to the trader’s premises and it is during site visits that customs officers check the business compliance records. Moving from frontier checks to audit based controls has transferred a high level of responsibility and risk to the trader. It is now the duty of the trader to identify and report any error or irregularity and to keep an impeccable audit trail from initial quotation to receipt of payment. For the business, failing to provide satisfactory compliance records will result in delayed shipments and serious disruption in the supply chain. This will in turn impact on financial performance indicators such as Days in Inventory, Days Sales Outstanding and of course Cash Flow. The business will also have to endure in depth customs audits during which customs officers will inspect each step of the audit trail disrupting day-to-day business operation. Errors uncovered during these audits will yield heavy financial penalties and a customs debt. Ultimately, customs risk will impact on shareholders value. Customs and finance reporting should receive the same level of attention. However, if all companies check carefully their tax returns, only a few check their import or export declarations with the same scrutiny. Managing customs risk is often seen as a cost centre but it is also a source of competitive advantage. A sound customs management can reduce or remov
Table of Contents
Contents: Foreword; Introduction; Customs risk and the business; Customs risk and customs authorities; Classification; Valuation; Preferential rules of origin and trade agreements; Customs procedures; Security - the new challenge; Conclusion; References.
Catherine Truel, founder and director of Intl Trade Instrument, started her career in global logistics managing multi-product, multi-country networks for large groups. She joined Ernst & Young International Trade Practice as a Senior Consultant assisting corporations with customs compliance and strategic planning issues before monitoring international trade for leading publications and organizations worldwide. She remains a correspondent for Supply Chain Asia Magazine. Catherine is a former Board Director of Sitpro, the UK trade facilitation agency, a member of the International Network of Customs Universities and a member of the UK Futures Analysts' Network.
'I have now been for almost three years an excise and systems director at Malta Customs, and Catherine Truel’s book is really serving me as my first practical point of reference on customs risk and related areas. It is certainly invaluable for the handy small size of the book and I would undoubtedly recommend it to anyone involved in or studying international trade policy and administrative matters.' Martin E Spiteri, Director Excise and Systems, Ministry of Finance, the Economy and Investment, Malta 'This book has opened my eyes to a new set of supply chain risks that I have been unaware of : Customs risk...This book, and my review of it, will hopefully contribute to giving customs risk its rightful place as a supply chain risk that should not be neglected.' Jan Husdal, husdal.com 'A concise and useful overview of an important topic to those with an interest in global trade. Joseph Bonney, The Journal of Commerce 'A useful practical guide for customs practitioners that provides good insight into the nature and types of risks confronted by customs administrations strategically and operationally.' Adj. Professor Stephen Holloway, Dean of Studies, Centre for Customs and Excise Studies, University of Canberra