Customs

Customs

Overview
Customs is an authority
Authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...

 or agency
Government agency
A government or state agency is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types...

 in a country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties
Duty (economics)
In economics, a duty is a kind of tax, often associated with customs, a payment due to the revenue of a state, levied by force of law. It is a tax on certain items purchased abroad...

 and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazard
Hazard
A hazard is a situation that poses a level of threat to life, health, property, or environment. Most hazards are dormant or potential, with only a theoretical risk of harm; however, once a hazard becomes "active", it can create an emergency situation. A hazard does not exist when it is not...

ous items in and out of a country. Depending on local legislation
Legislation
Legislation is law which has been promulgated by a legislature or other governing body, or the process of making it...

 and regulations, the import
International trade
International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories. In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product...

 or export
Export
The term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an "exporter" who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an "importer"...

 of some goods may be restricted or forbidden, and the customs agency enforces these rules. The customs authority may be different from the immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 authority, which monitors persons who leave or enter the country, checking for appropriate documentation, apprehending people wanted by international arrest warrant
Arrest warrant
An arrest warrant is a warrant issued by and on behalf of the state, which authorizes the arrest and detention of an individual.-Canada:Arrest warrants are issued by a judge or justice of the peace under the Criminal Code of Canada....

s, and impeding the entry of others deemed dangerous to the country.
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Encyclopedia
Customs is an authority
Authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...

 or agency
Government agency
A government or state agency is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types...

 in a country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties
Duty (economics)
In economics, a duty is a kind of tax, often associated with customs, a payment due to the revenue of a state, levied by force of law. It is a tax on certain items purchased abroad...

 and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazard
Hazard
A hazard is a situation that poses a level of threat to life, health, property, or environment. Most hazards are dormant or potential, with only a theoretical risk of harm; however, once a hazard becomes "active", it can create an emergency situation. A hazard does not exist when it is not...

ous items in and out of a country. Depending on local legislation
Legislation
Legislation is law which has been promulgated by a legislature or other governing body, or the process of making it...

 and regulations, the import
International trade
International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories. In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product...

 or export
Export
The term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an "exporter" who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an "importer"...

 of some goods may be restricted or forbidden, and the customs agency enforces these rules. The customs authority may be different from the immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 authority, which monitors persons who leave or enter the country, checking for appropriate documentation, apprehending people wanted by international arrest warrant
Arrest warrant
An arrest warrant is a warrant issued by and on behalf of the state, which authorizes the arrest and detention of an individual.-Canada:Arrest warrants are issued by a judge or justice of the peace under the Criminal Code of Canada....

s, and impeding the entry of others deemed dangerous to the country. In most countries customs are attained through government agreements and international laws.

A customs duty
Duty (economics)
In economics, a duty is a kind of tax, often associated with customs, a payment due to the revenue of a state, levied by force of law. It is a tax on certain items purchased abroad...

 is a tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

 or tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

 on the importation (usually) or exportation (unusually) of goods. In the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

, customs duties were typically part of the customary revenue
Revenue
In business, revenue is income that a company receives from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. In many countries, such as the United Kingdom, revenue is referred to as turnover....

 of the king
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

, and therefore did not need parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

ary consent to be levied, unlike excise duty, land tax, or other forms of taxes.

Commercial goods not yet cleared through customs are held in a customs area
Customs area
A customs area is an area designated for storage of commercial goods that have not yet cleared customs. It is surrounded by a customs border...

, often called a bonded store, until processed. All authorised ports are recognised customs area.

Red and Green channels


Customs procedures for arriving passengers at many international airport
International airport
An international airport is any airport that can accommodate flights from other countries and are typically equipped with customs and immigration facilities to handle these flights to and from other countries...

s, and some road crossings, are separated into Red and Green Channels. Passengers with goods to declare (carrying items above the permitted customs limits and/or carrying prohibited items) should go through the Red Channel. Passengers with nothing to declare (carrying goods within the customs limits only and not carrying prohibited items) can go through the Green Channel. Passengers going through the Green Channel are only subject to spot checks and save time. But, if a passenger going through the Green Channel is found to have goods above the customs limits on them or carrying prohibited items, they may be prosecuted for making a false declaration to customs, by virtue of having gone through the Green Channel.

Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 do not officially operate a red and green channel system, however some airports copy this layout.

Airports within the EU
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 also have a Blue Channel. As the EU
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 is a customs union
Customs union
A customs union is a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff. The participant countries set up common external trade policy, but in some cases they use different import quotas...

, travellers between EU countries do not have to pay customs duties. VAT and Excise duties may be applicable if the goods are subsequently sold, but these are collected when the goods are sold, not at the border. Passengers arriving from other EU countries should go through the Blue Channel, where they may still be subject to checks for prohibited or restricted goods. In addition, limitations exist on various tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 and alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

 products being imported from other EU member states and use of the Blue Channel if those limitations are being exceeded would be inappropriate. Luggage tickets
Bag tag
Bag tags, also known as baggage tags, baggage checks or luggage tickets, have traditionally been used by bus, train and airline companies to route passenger luggage that is checked on to the final destination...

 for checked in luggage within the EU are green-edged so they may be identified.
UK policy is that entry into a particular Channel constitutes a legal declaration.

Privatization of customs


Customs is an important part of the government involved in one of the three basic functions of a government, namely, administration, maintenance of law, order and justice and collection of revenue. However, in a bid to mitigate corruption, many countries have partly privatised its Customs. This has occurred by way of engagement of Pre-shipment Inspection Agencies who examine the cargo and verify the declared value before importation is effected and the nation Customs is obliged to accept the report of the agency for the purpose of assessment of leviable duties and taxes at the port of entry. While engaging a preshipment inspection agency may appear justified in a country with an inexperienced or inadequate Customs establishment, the measure has not really been able to plug the loophole and protect revenue. It has been found that evasion of Customs duty escalated when pre-shipment agencies took over. It has also been alleged that such involvement of such agencies has been causing delays in the shipment process. Privatization of Customs has been viewed as a fatal remedy.

Hong Kong


Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 is a free port
Free port
A free port or free zone , sometimes also called a bonded area is a port, port area or other area with relaxed jurisdiction with respect to the country of location...

 and generally does not impose duties on imported or exported goods, with the exceptions of liquors, tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

, methyl alcohol and hydrocarbon oil
Hydrocarbon oil duty
Hydrocarbon oil duty is fuel tax levied on some fuels used by road vehicles in the United Kingdom. Between 1993 and 1999 the Government's Fuel Price Escalator led to significant rises in the cost of fuel which led to fuel tax protests in 2000, 2005 and 2007. In May 2008, UK fuel tax rates were one...

. Residents leaving the territory with a valid Hong Kong Identity Card
Hong Kong Identity Card
The Hong Kong Identity Card is an official identity document issued by the Immigration Department of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card is a class of HKID issued to Hong Kong residents who have the right of abode in Hong Kong SAR. According to the Registration of Persons Ordinance...

 for 24 hours or more may import up to 1 litre of alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

 and 19 cigarettes or 15 cigars.

Indonesia


No customs for mailed goods below or equal to US$50. Customs policy may be different in Batam
Batam
Batam is an island and city in Riau Islands Province of Indonesia, known for its free trade zone area as part of the Sijori Growth Triangle, is located off Singapore's south coast...

 free trade zone.

Philippines


Customs prohibits the import or export of PHP10,000 (approximately USD220) of local currency instruments (e.g. Philippine peso banknotes) without the prior authority of the central bank
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and commonly abbreviated as BSP is the central bank of the Philippines. It was rechartered on July 3, 1993, pursuant to the provision of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and the New Central Bank Act of 1993...

. However, bringing in of USD10,000 or higher (or its foreign currency equivalent) may be brought in or out but it must be declared in writing.

Theoretically, the import and export of controlled goods needs clearance from the relevant government agencies regulating such goods.

European Union


The basic customs law is harmonised across Europe. This includes customs duties and restrictions. Customs tax from 150 €. In addition, see regulations of each Member State.

Romania


Customs may be very strict, especially for shipped goods (from anywhere outside the EU). Up to 10€ goods/package there are no taxes (it is free). Taxes may be stiff. There may be an outgoing custom tax too.

Slovakia


Up to 22€ there are no taxes (it is free). From 22€ up to 150€, it is necessary to pay VAT (DPH in Slovak) which is 21%. From 150€ it is necessary to pay VAT and customs. Customs may be from 0 to 10%, the amount depending on the type of imported goods.

Georgia


No customs for mailed goods below or equal to 300GEL (App US$160) including transportation. See currency exchange rate at National Bank of Georgia Web site: http://www.nbg.gov.ge/.

USA


The United States imposes tariffs or customs duties on imports of goods that are among the lowest in the world : 3% on average. The duty is levied at the time of import and is paid by the importer of record. Individuals arriving in the United States may be exempt from duty on a limited amount of purchases, and on goods temporarily imported (such as laptop computers) under the ATA Carnet
ATA Carnet
The ATA Carnet is an international customs document that allows the holder to temporarily import goods without payment of normally applicable duties and taxes, including value-added taxes. The Carnet eliminates the need to purchase temporary import bonds. So long as the goods are re-exported...

 system. Customs duties vary by country of origin and product, with duties ranging from zero to 81% of the value of the goods. Goods from many countries are exempt from duty under various trade agreements. Certain types of goods are exempt from duty regardless of source. Customs rules differ from other import restrictions. Failure to properly comply with customs rules can result in seizure of goods and civil and criminal penalties against involved parties. United States Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) enforces customs rules. All goods entering the United States are subject to inspection by CBP prior to legal entry.

See also

  • Biological material
    Biological material
    Biological material may refer to:* Tissue , or just tissue* Biomass, living or dead biological matter, often plants grown as fuel* Biomass , the total mass of living biological matter* Biomaterials...

  • Port authority
    Port authority
    In Canada and the United States a port authority is a governmental or quasi-governmental public authority for a special-purpose district usually formed by a legislative body to operate ports and other transportation infrastructure.Port authorities are usually governed by boards or...

  • World Customs Organization
    World Customs Organization
    The World Customs Organization is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. With its worldwide membership, the WCO is recognized as the voice of the global customs community...

  • World Customs Journal
    World Customs Journal
    The World Customs Journal is a peer-reviewed academic journal that is published twice a year. It was launched at the World Customs Organization's second annual PICARD conference, held in Brussels on 27-28 March 2007....


External links