Taiwan revamps customs rules

Taiwan revamps customs rules

Revisions by the Taiwan legislature to the island's customs law should mean better and faster clearance procedures, officials say.

The changes, in line with the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures -- the Kyoto Convention -- are intended to improve trade facilitation.

One new provision allows export goods to use carnet certification instead of customs documents, so long as there is a guarantor. Such goods may be shipped into or out of a carnet signatory nation free of duty, once the Ministry of Finance completes implementation.

The period for the duty-free re-import of goods been shipped abroad for repair, assembly or processing is extended to one year, with a further six-month extension possible. Officials say this reflects practical needs.

Under the revised code, the scope of tariff rebates is expanded to allow for return of duties paid on imports that, for special reasons, do not go to domestic consumers.

Another addition allows for quota amounts of tariff-quota goods to be increased or reduced by as much as 50 percent in response to "special domestic or international economic conditions," a government spokesman said.

Taiwan told the World Trade Organization earlier this year is prepared to share its experience in paperless handling of transport, a key issue under the Doha round of talks.

Yen Ching-chang, the island's permanent representative to the WTO, said Taiwan and Australia have made considerable progress in reducing import and export costs and boosting economic activity since they implemented an electronic customs system.

Taiwan is a member of the first regional e-customs alliance through Trade-Van Information Service Co., a customs declaration service firm.

It offers the regional system in conjunction with Crimson Logic Pte. Ltd. of Singapore, Tradelink Electronic Commerce Ltd. of Hong Kong, China International Electronic Commerce Center, KTNET, an arm of Korea Telecoms, the Trade Electronic Data Interchange (TEDI) Club of Japan and Dagang Net Technologies Sdn. Bhd. of Malaysia.

Members are required to declaration information through the Internet to speed service and promote trade in the Asia-Pacific.