Input sought on South American customs agencies
The Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America is encouraging companies engaged in international trade to provide feedback to governments in South America about how their customs practices impact cross-border business.
The group is using a survey to develop a consensus on problem areas that can be brought to the attention of officials at the Central American Free Trade Agreement ministerial meeting in February and by other means. The survey is intended to get South American countries to reform their customs practices and adopt the World Customs Organization's Revised Kyoto Convention, which sets forth governing principles for making trade more transparent, predictable, efficient and secure.
Many countries have well-meaning customs regulations on paper, but the survey is designed to identify administrative and technical barriers to cross-border goods movement.
In Latin American country, for example, it takes an average of 21 days for an entry to be checked against all compliance requirements and the shipment to be cleared. That's because many countries in the region do not separate their clearance from duty collection and other administrative procedures.
An AACCLA official and Tom Travis, managing partner of Miami-based trade law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg and Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services, promoted the survey during a forum on supply chain competitiveness at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Tuesday. Travis' firm helped develop the survey.
The process of trade facilitation needs to start with customs simplification, followed by harmonization of national practices with those in other countries and then international standardization, Travis said.
There have been fewer than 100 respondents so far and AACCLA wants to get responses from more compliance professionals and more countries.
The survey can be found here ' Eric Kulisch