Customs Department - An Introduction

International Trade is facilitated and controlled by Countries with the help of Foreign Policy, Export Import Regulations, Schedule and Tariff of Import and Export Duties as well as Trade Laws and Regulations.

Customs Department is the Federal Government Agency that is invested with Authority to conduct Customs Valuation and collect Import as well as Export Duties on behalf of the Government.

Customs are present in all points of entry into and out of the country. These include airports, sea ports, on road border check posts and any other point of exit and entry into the country.

Customers Departments are invested with quasi powers similar to the police and work in close co-ordination with the border security, police and other security intelligence departments.

Imports and Exports cover two channels of transport of goods. Business related trade is carried on through cargo imports. Caro Import as well as export can be consigned through road network, via shipping as well as airfreight. All the said modes will be covered by Customs Department.

The second mode of export and import relates to personal baggage. Though this mode does not have much of revenue implications but still the baggage has to go through customs inspection to ensure illegal items and prohibited items are not being imported or exported. Items like Narcotics, illegal weapons and cash etc are always smuggled into the country through various routes. Customs department has revenue intelligence teams that are trained to prevent such acts and arrest the accused.

In the Airports and Ports, Customs have designated area and offices where the exporters deposit the export consignments. After customs clearance the cargo is directly handed over to the Airline or the Shipping line from Customs department for onward shipment.

Similarly, imports cargo is offloaded from the aircraft or ship into the Customs designated area and store until it is custom cleared and released to the importer.

The customs designated area is always a bonded area where in only customs is permitted entry. The cargo that is kept within the bonded area cannot be moved or taken out without Customs permission.

Customs Department officials inspect the inbound cargo and based on the descriptions of the items in Invoice and other documents, assign the correct tariff to arrive at the valuation of the consignment based on the Invoice value. The duty amount is calculated and once the duty payment is made by the importer, the cargo is released. The process of submitting the cargo for customs clearance as well as facilitating the documentation and clearance process is handled by Third Party Service Providers called Customs Brokers.

Similar process is followed for customs exports too. Customs Brokers file documents on behalf of the clients to Customs department, facilitate cargo inspection and approval to enable exports to be completed.

Customs Departments also work closely with border security forces and revenue intelligence agencies to work on information related to smuggling and illegal entrants into the country.

Revenue intelligence wing of Customs deals with matters pertaining to valuation of imports and try to check transfer pricing under valuation, under invoicing etc done by importers to evade import duty payments. They also build database of international prices of specific commodities and the trends in the markets to be able to spot under valuation attempts by importers.


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