Customs In Brief
Who We Are
The Fiji Customs Service safeguards our country from potential outside threats and secure exports, imports and travellers with other countries all over the world. We also collect revenue for the Government and work alongside other border agencies, industries and the government for a secure and safe Fiji.
Fiji Customs constantly keeps pace with developments in international trade, whether of a technological, legal or economic nature. We seek to develop a competent and efficient administration by optimizing management of staff and available technical resources, instilling a culture of good governance and integrity to facilitate the crucial role played by Customs in the global trading system.
To date, Fiji Customs Service is maximising capacity building through the WCO e-learning program, overseas and in-house training, information sharing with other border agencies and training in our local universities.These enable our Customs administration to implement applications of various international instruments, tools and best practices which are necessary to gradually change our management and operational environment. We are alsotaking the leading role in assisting other small Pacific Island Customs administrations to become more effective and efficient institutions, through the setting up of the Regional Training Center and working closely with the Oceania Customs Organisation.
The term Customs procedures refers to the treatment of goods by Customs administrations which is covered in the Customs Act. The procedures cover the whole range of the Customs systems of control and facilitation of imported and exported goods, the movement of passengers, and goods in transit.
From a trade facilitation view, the World Customs Organization’s International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonisation of Customs Procedures, and commonly known as the Revised Kyoto Convention, is acknowledged as the main international instrument covering trade facilitation as it standardizes the role played by Customs administrations in the global trading system.
Integrity within Customs
Integrity is more than simply the absence of corruption. It involves developing and maintaining a positive set of attitudes and values which give effect to an organization’s aims, objectives. It is therefore a prerequisite for the proper functioning of Fiji Customs administration. The special position of Customs authorities within the international trade supply chain, both in terms of its regular contact with financial and goods movements, and the application of specific legal powers, requires a high degree of professional integrity on the part of Customs officials.
To assist Fiji Customs Service to instil a high degree of integrity at all levels, the World Customs Organization (WCO) has produced a number of helpful tools for use by its Members. It is known as the revised Arusha Declaration on Integrity in Customs. This declaration commits Customs administrations to maintain a high standard of integrity throughout our management and operational environment by the introduction of national integrity programmes.
Integrity in Customs also play its part from a trade facilitation view. A Customs administration suffering from a lack of integrity will normally be less effective and certainly inefficient resulting in little or no trade facilitation due to mismanagement, bad governance, and thriving corruption. It is thus essential for our administration to fully support culture of integrity throughout the goods supply chain.
The Customs value of imported goods is determined mainly for the purposes of applying ad valorem duties. It constitutes the taxable basis for Customs duties. It is also an essential element for compiling trade statistics, for monitoring quantitative restrictions, for applying tariff preferences, and for collecting national taxes.
WTO Valuation Agreement forms the basis for the Customs values declared to Customs administrations. The Agreement establishes a Customs valuation system which bases the Customs value primarily on the transaction value of imported goods, i.e. the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the country of importation with certain adjustments. Customs administration is responsible for the assessment and collection of Customs duties.
As the Agreement provides more predictability, stability and transparency for the trading community, it is regarded as a major contributor towards the facilitation of international trade while ensuring compliance with national laws and regulations.
The Harmonized System (HS) is regarded as the “common language of international trade”. It is a basis for Customs classification of goods, the collection of international trade statistics, trade policy, the application of rules of origin, the monitoring of controlled goods, the application of quota controls, the levying of internal taxes, the collection of transport statistics, and economic research and analysis.
The latest version of the HS entered into force on 1 January 2012. It is aligned to today’s security, commercial and technology developments. These amendments were largely driven by changes in trade patterns and practices, technological progress, the necessity to clarify descriptions to ensure uniform interpretation, and the need to make provision for specific social and environmental developments and concerns.
Revised Kyoto Convention
The revised Kyoto Convention provides for the simplification, harmonisation and modernisation of Customs procedures. This Convention contains modern Customs formalities and procedures, harmonised Customs documents for use in international trade and transport, and provides for the use of risk management techniques and the best use of information technology by Customs administrations.
Trade facilitation concepts such as audit based controls and authorized economic operators are also major elements of the Convention.The revised Kyoto Convention is regarded as the blueprint for trade facilitation as it provides simple but efficient procedures and control for import, export, and transit of goods including the movement of passengers and means of transport.
These assessments produce risk indicator products for use by Customs officials for the purpose of targeting goods and conveyances in our daily work.
Customs enforcement has developed significantly to keep pace with the tremendous increase in international trade and transport, the growing awareness of trans-national organized crime and, more recently, the threat of terrorism. This has led to an increased awareness in Customs administrations that national and international co-operation is essential. This co-operation relies heavily on the sharing of information between Customs Services, sharing information with the business sector and other law enforcement agencies.. All of this information is the basis for risk management, now generally regarded as the best approach to Customs controls in the current international trading environment.
Enhanced Screening of Pre-arrival Information
While 100% examination is impossible with present resources, it is possible for Customs services to give assurance that data will be adequately screened for indications of risk. This allows the appropriate application of resources to focus on high-risk shipments for examination prior to goods arriving at a port of entry. Risks and threats continuously change depending on several factors, just as laws, criminal organizations, importers and industries do.
Members implementing the initiative use consistent risk management approach to address threats to the trade supply chain.
Standardized Risk Assessments (SRAs) are an important part of the Customs intelligence function and contribute to the efficient and effective functioning of Customs services which in turn benefits international trade facilitation efforts.
Security and Facilitation of the International Trade Supply Chain
The increasing concern internationally about the security of the trade supply chain given the threat posed by potential terrorist activity, trans-national organized crime, and smuggling, has increased the need considerably to secure the movement of goods, protect means of transport, and safeguard revenue collections.This concern for security requires the recognition that legitimate cargo should continue to receive the full benefits of trade facilitation.
Based on the principles of co-operation, this cements the bonds between our administrations and business stakeholders to together commit to the implementation the Standards that regulate the security and facilitation of world trade.