Compliance is not about one or two things which if done correctly, assure you a pass. It is also not something that you do in isolation from your LSP (Logistics Service Provider). It is also not something that is simply passed onto a third party LSP believing that they are the sole providers of the respective legislative compliances.
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One of my former colleagues in SARS Customs, a National Customs Consultant would ask me a very basic question time and again. He would ask… “Who is the only person who knows exactly what is in the container at time of arrival in South Africa?” My initial response was… “The importer”. He always clarified the question with another… “Who actually saw the goods being packed?” He explained… “Not the transporter, not the clearing agent, not Customs and not even the importer. It is the supplier”. To add, even if the transporter packed the goods, only the supplier will know the exact nature and characteristics of the goods which were packed.
The importer has a material interest in knowing exactly what is being received for a multitude of reasons. Core to these reasons is so that all parties can be advised on how to meet various commercial and legislative requirements. This makes compliance a joint effort between you and your Logistics Service Providers. The more they know about your product, the better off you are.
There are a number of elements, or layers if you like, which may be applied to ensure that you consistently achieve the highest level of compliance. While the following is a non-exhaustive list, they include:
1) Knowledge of Customs affairs.
2) Advance research of import & export requirements.
3) Business implementation with your LSP.
4) Product implementation with your LSP.
5) Customs Clearance Instructions.
6) Supporting documents.
7) Customs licenses, registrations and rulings.
8) Post audits and re-alignment.
9) Knowing your rights.
These elements will be discussed in the blogs which follow.