Customs policy is one of the most important financial instruments aiming at accomplishing the socio-economic objectives in the country. It focuses on the customs management, legislative systems , customs tariff and others. Its importance increased shortly after the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995 because it re-formulates the world trade map as a whole. It launches a new much different era. There is a new trade system different in its content, mechanism and institutions from the old one.
Importance is asserted with the accelerating developments and changes on the international arena over the past decades in relation to the movements of the international capitals, or the escalation of conflicts and competition among the main parties in the international regime , especially after the collapse of the communist experiment in the eastern Europe , the dismantle of these states into small states , the fall of Berlin wall and the merge of the two halves of the German State as well as other factors that led to the downfall of the old economic system . These events led to radical changes in the world system as a whole, and to great turns in the world strategic balance resulting in new economic challenges.
In context, the concept of globalization appeared instead of statehood. If the latter pre-supposes the existence of a national state , economy and markets, the former is based on complete contrast mechanism. This concept refers that the space of production and marketing has extended to the world market. There is a further satisfaction with the consistency of consumer’s requirements under the effect of the “new technology” , mass media and production standardization.
Naturally , these developments have been reflected on the Finance Ministry’s view of financial reform in general and customs reform in particular . Consequently, procedures are taken as follows:
First: forming a work group dedicated to the customs development and reform, including a distinguished elite of employees in the Customs Authority. It studies and seeks the best means and appropriate frames to combat the current customs problems within the international experience and the practical experiments by utilizing the local and international experts.
Secondly: Forming a higher council for customs reform including a distinguished elite of the Egyptian society sector and the concerned in this field. This council will discuss subjectively and elaborately the results and policies coming from the first group to determine their appropriateness for Egypt.
Thirdly: Develop the customs management and enforce, within limited range, some customs systems that proved success abroad, to be able to evaluate them correctly. This what currently happens in the Model Customs and Tax Centre the Prime Minster inaugurated in September 2003.
- The customs policy aims at achieving the following strategic objectives:
Integrate the Egyptian economy in the world trade system .
Develop the partnership between the Egyptian Customs and the trade community.
Promote the competitiveness of the private sector by reducing costs of importing and exporting bargains. For achieving these objectives and others for developing the Egyptian customs to keep up with the international variables, the Minster of Finance issued a decree no. 1237 of 2000 , with respect to creating the project of “ Customs Development and Reform”. It aims at studying the best available means to develop the customs policy with all its instruments “ tariffs, laws, procedures ..etc.” to establish a customs system able to:
provide a clear customs law with comprehensible provisions that ensures rights and commitments of employees and dealers.
Follow easy , clear and simple customs tariff structure
A comprehensive automation of all the customs procedures.
Transparency in providing information to all who deal with customs
Clear , flexible and transparent legal framework.
Commit to the international standards and traditions in the field of the customs work
Consider ports as gates not warehouses.
Self assessment of the tax and fees and making dealers participate in responsibility.
Depend on risk-management systems with tightening penalties on violators .
Adopt the subsequent accounting auditing.
Alleviate burdens on dealers by reducing costs of customs clearance
- Delegate power and maximize the rights and responsibilities of the employees.
- Punish the “passiveness” and reward “the positiveness” In addition, it practices the monitoring process to realize the internal and external security through its role in laws of combating drugs , arms ,ammunition and explosions in a cooperation system to fight terrorism and trading of illegal commodities.
Moreover, customs plays an important part to encourage local industries , and promote the economic development rate through practicing special customs systems such as temporary admission, tax refund to encourage the national industries and exportation. In addition , the proceeds of customs are regarded as an important one of the state sovereign resources.