Automation, the key to effective trading
Minimising human intervention is vital to create an effective trading
environment at the Customs, said Director General of Customs, Jagath P.
Wijeweera at the launch of an electronic export clearance system based
on ASYCUDA World (AW) software for the Customs.He said that automation
of the Customs clearance system is an important trade facilitation
initiative. We have already implemented electronic payments, e-vehicle
clearance system, Direct Trading Inputs(DTI) facilities and e-cargo
To improve the efficiency in key functions of revenue collection and
board control, the Customs Department believes that in today's context
trade facilitation using automation has to be a key priority to service
the trading community and their service providers.
He said that the new system would reduce processing time, the number
of documents used and direct and indirect cost incurred during clearance
of export shipments. It is intended to achieve these objectives by
automation of the export processing system and minimising human
intervention in a paperless environment.
Transition will be difficult at the beginning because there will be
resistance from the Department and the traders. It is a challenge and
success depends on how we face the challenge, he said. The Automated
System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) is a computerised system designed by
the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The country’s largest export earner, textile and apparel will be the
first to connect with the system and the Secretary General of the Joint
Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) said that this is a timely and
important trade facilitation initiative by the government.
With the introduction of new system, the changes will be: * To
process eCusdec without hard copy and the physical presence of the
declarant at the Customs export processing centre, * to collect the
examination fee along with the other payments, * to automate the
selectivity for physical examination and * to establish an examination
point within port limits or in close proximity to the port. The new FCL
and LCL procedures too have been introduced.
It has been proposed to charge a flat rate as examination fee for all
exports irrespective of whether the shipment is selected for examination
or not. The amount will be determined by the Customs after a careful
analysis of the present fee structure.
To facilitate the new procedure, exporters and the container freight
station operators should have access to the Customs system.
Therefore, exporters and the container freight station operators
should enter into an MoU with the DG of Customs to obtain a VPN
Certificate and user name and password to access the Customs system.