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Customs to ‘reduce human error’

Jul 04. 2016
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By THE NATION

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THE CUSTOMS Department is upgrading its IT system to reduce officials using their own judgement on product price-setting and other elements, with the implementation slated to begin on 144 major import items late this month.
Among the 144 items the new system will be trialled on are garments, fashion products, agricultural products, automobiles, motorcycles and wines. 
The department will begin with goods shipped through the country’s two largest deep-sea ports, Laem Chabang Port and Bangkok Port, said Kulit Sombatsiri, its director-general.
The measure came after the department found it might miss its fiscal 2016 (October 2015-September 2016) tax-collection target by Bt6 billion.
Of the amount, Bt2.4 billion is earmarked to come from free-trade agreements the country signed with trading partners, and the rest from other items. 
That would be about 9 per cent short of this fiscal year’s revenue target of Bt120 billion.
Kulit said the department was developing a mobile application to reduce officials using their own judgement on product price-setting, product details, sources of production and customs tariff rates. The upgraded system will be proposed to Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong for consideration. 
The department will also put more stringent controls on shipping agencies that pass on lower-than-actual prices for imported products to customers. The department will directly relay prices to importers. 
Warnings will be given to shipping agencies which do not follow the rules, with the worst offenders put on a blacklist. Importers will be alerted about offending agencies.
 
Shipping agents 
Of the some 12,000 shipping agencies, only about 3,000 are registered with the Custom Broker and Transportation Association. 
Unlike those unregistered agencies, registered shipping companies normally process transactions with the Customs Department online with less difficulty concerning price declarations.
Furthermore, Kulit said that the department was in the process of assessing the pre-arrival processing system, which was designed to cut the processing time for imports to six hours. The system has been used at Laem Chabang Port. 
If the assessment comes out satisfactorily, the system will be extended to Suvarnabhumi International Airport for air freight in early fiscal 2017, he said.
 

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