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Investment Council discusses on the Facilitation of Customs Procedures

Tirana, 9 May 2017 / Chaired by the Minister of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship, Ms Milva Ekonomi, it was held today the IC Meeting X. The topic of the meeting was ‘On the facilitation of customs procedures,’ aiming increase of the competitiveness and promotion of the Albanian exports. Attended the meeting around 20 representatives of the local and foreign business associations such as ICC Albania, Chamber of Commerce of Durrës, DIHA, Shteti Web, Office for Economic and Commercial Affairs of Greek Embassy, Swiss Embassy, etc.

In her word, Minister Ekonomi noted the most significant improvements made in the recent years, especially with the entry into force of the New Code of Customs and stated that this Code should become a tool to serve better to the Albanian companies.

At the beginning of 2015, in the customs of the port of Durrës, it was set up the green channel. The measured time was reduced from 3 hours that it previously took before the establishment of the green channel to 10 minutes today. This means more time and fewer expenses for the business, thus reaching faster the destination market,”- said Minister in her word. The Albanian Government and customs administration have undertaken in the past years a range of measures to provide simplified procedures such as common transit system with Kosovo, authorisation for local customs clearance, prolongation of the temporary storage time period up to 90 days, presentation of authorized economic operators, etc.

Afterwards, the Secretariat presented the main findings consulted with the business, focused on four main pillars:

  • Timely preparation of the secondary customs legislation making reference to the New Code of Customs to enter into force on 1 June 2017 and consultation with the business, as a good practice for promotion of partnership;
  • Reference prices, argumentation, clear documentation and traceability in the internal system of the General Customs Procedures for the approach taken to calculate the customs value (review of acts/internal instructions), update the list of reference prices;
  • The need for business awareness to request to the customs administration information on the obligatory tariff classification, replies to be provided to the businesses about the results of the customs laboratory on the tariff classification.
  • Institutionalisation of the collaboration and consulting with the business: online communication, getting information and issuance of different authorisations by the business not only at the customs but also in other related institutions such as tax, NFA, etc. Accelerating the finalisation of the ‘single window’ project at customs to further facilitate the inter-institutional coordination.

After the presentation of the findings of the report prepared by the IC Secretariat, the main discussions by business were focused to the timely approval of the implementing dispositions of the secondary legislation related to the New Code of Customs which enters into force in June 2017 and wide consultation with the business, cost of scanning of container, monitoring of prices in the transaction invoices in import, the importance of control and difference between used and new products, as well as stronger collaboration between GCD and NFA, e.g. in relation to certificates of products.

General Customs Directorate, Ms Belinda Ikonomi informed that the objective of the GCD beginning 2018 is to become paperless, and the online declaration is expected to eliminate many existing problems. On the customs website, the business will find information related to the tariff, assessments, classifications, and as a project is expected to become functional around the second half of 2017. Meanwhile, Head of EBRD RO, Mr Matteo Colangeli, informed that the EBRD is assisting in setting up a helpdesk in the area of taxes to assist the SMEs with information regarding tax rules, and expressed readiness to assist the customs administration with instruments that would enhance information of economic operators.

The analysis of the Secretariat was based on business concerns it collected during 2015 – 2016 (around 30 concerns). Furthermore, an open questionnaire was launched online and filled in by 23 companies. Meetings were conducted with around 25 stakeholders, importing and exporting business, also in the districts, consulting companies, customs administration, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economy. Meanwhile, on 20 April it was held a consultation meeting with experts of the area from customs and tax administration and businesses to discuss in advance the most appropriate and important recommendations to be presented at the IC.

For the full materials of the Meeting click here.

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