GACAG said harmonization of global customs procedures will play a pivotal role in establishing e-Customs platforms and has pledged the support of the entire air cargo industry in this effort.
At a minimum, GACAG has highlighted processes that should be accomplished through electronic means: export and import goods declarations to Customs provided by exporters, importers and/or their forwarders or customs brokers; export, import and transit cargo declarations sent to Customs by airlines; release of shipments into free circulation following completion of Customs formalities; and recordkeeping and archiving for all participating parties.
Michael Steen, chair of GACAG, said: "Harmonized Customs procedures facilitate the international transportation of air cargo and, more broadly, benefit all involved in global trade - including manufacturers, farmers, transportation companies involved in all modes, consumers, and nations themselves. In short, international trade promotes development and enhances economic growth, and harmonized Customs procedures promote international trade. Air cargo already transports goods worth in excess of $5tr, representing roughly one-third of global international trade. Specifically, GACAG urges WCO members to embrace and implement the principles of the Revised Kyoto Convention and to shift from a dependency on paper to an e-Customs environment, which will stimulate economic development, remove inefficiencies and lead to much-needed productivity gains."
In its recommendations, GACAG says it also believes that Customs should require supporting documents only on an exceptional basis for examination purposes and authorities should accept printouts of electronic records. These would include air waybill, house waybill and manifest transport documents exchanged between forwarders and airlines as well as all key commercial documents, such as commercial invoices, packing lists, hazardous materials documentation and certificates of origin.
Data transmission requirements should also not be duplicated between different programs, the group says, and it calls on authorities to ensure that all proprietary data is kept confidential. These e-Customs procedures should be accomplished through the harmonized implementation of relevant WCO instruments, notably the Data Model, the Framework of Standards To Secure And Facilitate Global Trade, the Unique Conference Reference and the Global Networked Customs Initiative, according to GACAG.
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