Businesses that trade abroad must ensure they consider customs regulations and compliance in their day-to-day operations if they are to avoid falling foul of the law, one expert has warned.
Pablo Muniz, the customs practice head at law firm Van Bael & Bellis, said in an article for Global Legal Post that conducting business in compliance with applicable regulatory framework is important for everyone, but added that he does not feel some companies take this seriously enough.
He pointed out that when conducting trade in Europe, for example, goods must comply with procedures that enable them to pass across the EU border and so must be correctly classified in the Common Customs Tariff, with their customs value determined and their origin carefully reviewed for duty rate.
However, Mr Muniz said he frequently sees a lack of sufficient awareness - even if it is unintentional - leading to companies underestimating the importance of EU customs compliance and therefore leaving themselves open to penalties.
For customs infringement, this can result in fines, demand for payment of additional costs, and even prosecution.
The expert explained that such risks can only be minimised if firms give enough recognition to the importance of complying with EU customs laws and make compliance part of each department, rather than dismissing it as a minor problem because an issue has never arisen.
"Such an approach obviously fails to realise that compliance can ensure substantial savings if duties are being paid in excess due to an incorrect application of EU customs law. However, it also ignores that it takes only one serious customs infringement case to considerably disrupt a company's day-to-day functioning," Mr Muniz concluded.
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Please feel free to contact us for further information and to avoid falling into the traps outlined by Mr Muniz.