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Thursday, 27 January 2011

WCO announces HS code changes for 2012

Doesn’t it seem like we just went through this? Well, actually that was back in January 2007! Yes, it is time for the 5-year changes to the Harmonized Tariff Codes.

The WCO has published a paper describing (at the 6 digit levels) the changes that are being implemented and each WCO member state will make changes to their tariffs accordingly. As you may remember from the last go around, depending on what you are shipping, this may have a minimal impact to your parts database or a radical one. There seems to be a lot of changes in Chapter 3 (Fish) and 29 (Chemicals) and then a smattering of other changes throughout the tariff. It definitely doesn’t seem to be as huge in apparel and other retail areas as the last time but more focus on foodstuffs.

If you do have to make changes to your classifications on a grand(ish) scale, make sure all your service providers or systems get these updates to ensure you maintain the highest levels of Customs Compliance.

Since this is only a year or so away, it would be best to do an analysis to make sure you don’t have to go through such a review/reclassification exercise. You don’t want to go down to the wire and find that you not only have to reclassify your goods but then you have to distribute to all your providers to ensure you don’t put yourself into an error and thus penalty situation.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Strong & Herd LLP Blog - Import / Export Services: Freight companies and Customs Compliance

Strong & Herd LLP Blog - Import / Export Services: Freight companies and Customs Compliance: "Though I know this doesn't apply to all freight forwarders and clearing agents but why are so many still getting import declarations and exp..."

Freight companies and Customs Compliance

Though I know this doesn't apply to all freight forwarders and clearing agents but why are so many still getting import declarations and export declarations to customs wrong - even when they have been given clear instructions. What can we do about it? HM Revenue & Customs and the Export Control Organisation expect exporters and importers to control their freight companies - you given them written instructions with key information: EORI (VAT Number), Customs Procedure Code (CPC), commodity code (tariff number), export licence number, customs authorisation numbers, eg for IPR, OPR, Warehousing, etc. The import or export customs declaration comes back from the freight forwarder (if you are lucky) and one or most of the details are wrong. Perhaps with the increase in AEO approved companies this problem will fade but it seems that training for both companies exporting from the UK and companies importing into the EU is essential. In the meantime customs compliance takes up a lot of time in our office - instructing, checking, double checking, chasing forms, reporting errors and chasing amendments. Any comments?

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Are Incoterms Perfect?

Also see our Incoterms-2010 blog for debates just on Incoterms 2010.

It is interesting to consider the point that the Incoterms ® Rules are not intrinsically perfect despite the many revisions that have taken place since 1936. They are certainly a brave and robust attempt to provide an international trade language to define where delivery takes place legally in supply contracts. That is not to say that in the wide and complicated world of international trade there are not some inconsistencies and disagreements as to the interpretation of some elements of individual terms.

The ICC publication ‘The Incoterms 2000 Forum of Experts’ (Publication No. 617) is a transcript of the international forum held in Paris in September 1999 to launch the latest version. It illuminated some of the difficulties of interpretation but in the overview to the publication it stresses that Rules are the perfect illustration of a global standard, elaborated by business to respond to the need of business to provide flexible rules for governing its activity. We hope to receive a similar overview to the new 2010 set.

Terms that businesses appear to struggle with when trying to put them into practical use are ExWorks, FCA, the 4 remaining sea freight terms (FAS, FOB, CFR, CIF)and Group C in general. Why isn't Exworks suitable for international trade? If it isn't suitable why didn't the ICC take it out of the new Incoterms 2010 set? Why must a seller not only be responsible for export customs clearance but also have to pay for it under FCA Seller's Premises? And, how in practice, does a seller pay for export customs clearance when using air express operators such as UPS, TNT, DHL and Fedex who do not split down the costs? Why can't I have goods moving in a sea freight container delivered on board the ship under FOB - why must it be FCA port of departure? Moving away from FOB increases the costs and risks of the buyer?

We could go on. It appears to some that in the new set of Incoterms the ICC are hoping to shape the way international trade uses delivery terms rather than following what the international trading companies actually do. Incoterms Training is essentials and it must be done for the business as a whole not just a couple of logistics people. Incoterms in sales contracts and the use of Incoterms in purchasing departments should be given a higher profile than it appears to have in the majority of businesses.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Incoterms 2010

As you will be aware the ICC has up-dated Incoterms - the international delivery terms. The old version - Incoterms 2000 - was updated in 2010 and from 1 January 2011 Incoterms 2010 came into force. Two new terms have been added - DAT and DAP - while the terms DAF, DES, DEQ and DDU have been removed. The ICC Incoterms 2010 are now suitable for domestic contracts. A lot of the other changes are, what we would call, "tweaks" but there are significant "tweaks" within each of the 4 Incoterms Groups - Group E, Group F, Group C and Group D. ExWorks is recommended for domestic use only. FAS, FOB, CFR and CIF is recommended for non-containerised freight only and, for FOB, CFR and CIF, the risk passes once the goods are loaded on board not when they cross the ship's rail at loading. The diffferences between the transfer of risk and the costs within Group C (Incoterms CPT, CIP, CFR, CIF) has been clarified.

While you are here, look at our Incoterms 2010 blog

For further information on Strong & Herd Incoterms services, including Incoterms 2010 books, Incoterms 2010 charts and Incoterms training visit:

Thursday, 13 January 2011

GSP Origin Rules

25 of the 27 Member States of the EU (including the UK) have voted in favour of changes to the GSP Rules of Preference Origin. We understand that the possibility for countries in the SAARC and ASEAN regional groups to apply to cumulate with each oth...

Read more about GSP Origin Rules