LAST month, the Bureau of Customs (BoC) announced it will soon convert the customs automated system into AsycudaWORLD. The migration to the latest system is in line with the PhP500-million computerization program of the BoC being implemented by UNISYS, a global company engaged in the business of providing information technology services and solutions.
The computerization program will not only involve the use of the modern version of the Asycuda but will also include additional applications to address the specific requirements of customs. BoC is expected to fully implement the new system early next year.
For the gateway community, what do we expect from the computerization program? What are the benefits to the trading community?
What is UNCTAD ASYCUDA? The Automated System for Customs Data (Asycuda) Program was started in the early 1980s under the auspices of the UNCTAD. The main purpose of the program is to automate operations of custom administrations worldwide and to date, it is the leading electronic media providing the core component of a comprehensive and integrated customs information system in more than 85 countries. The latest version today is what is known as AsycudaWORLD.
As a customs business strategy, Asycuda should provide customs administrations with a system for:
- trade facilitation of legitimate trade by strengthening customs operational capacity to carry out its revenue and border control functions through a modern and reliable system; and
- implementation of harmonized codes, international standards, simplified procedures and other international standards and procedures.
Considering the direction towards a global harmonized customs rules and procedures, Asycuda fits the requirements of most customs jurisdictions worldwide and provides cost-effective solutions. More importantly, the system is provided at no cost, with implementation assistance provided by UNCTAD.
AsycudaWORLD. Officially launched in March 2002, AsycudaWORLD is the latest version developed by UNCTAD in recognition of the vast commercial potential of the internet in making international trade simpler, cheaper and more accessible. The system hopes to reduce trade transaction costs by applying modern information technologies, particularly that of the internet.
The latest version is now closer to the objective of making customs data requirements harmonized and simplified. This objective is likewise being pushed by the World Customs Organization (WCO), which is developing a global, harmonized standard data that uses uniform electronic messages. This standard data, known as the WCO Customs Data Model, will have a major impact on the processing of business-to-business, business-to-government and government-to-government transactions.
Benefits to Customs and the Trading Community. The adoption of the AsycudaWORLD and other extension applications will result in major improvements in the following areas:
- Trade Facilitation (internet access, simpler procedures and documents)
- Revenue and Statistics (post entry audit, data warehouse)
- Law Enforcement (risk management and selectivity functions)
- Standardization and Harmonization (revised Kyoto Convention, WCO Data Model)
- E-Governance (inter-agency online capability).
Specifically, the customs modernization project will definitely enhance current day-to-day operations of the BoC involving import entry lodgment, VRIS, selectivity, bank payment transactions, electronic manifest system assessment process, and online releasing. Additional capabilities will include on-line access to tariffs (e.g. AHTN), data warehousing, statistic and revenue information, online processing of import licenses, online public information and messaging, transshipment system and warehousing system.
On the export transaction side, the current Automated Export Declaration System (AEDS) will give way to a new export processing system. Additional system capabilities may include an export bonds management system and bonded raw materials liquidation system.
Trade Facilitation and Compliance. The BoC computerization program is a major development for the trading community. Once completed and implemented, its impact on importers can be immediately felt in the area of trade facilitation and trade compliance. An enhanced online system with simpler procedures and documents starting with the filing of import entry to releasing of the imported goods should result in time savings and lower transactions costs. For the export community, the same should likewise happen particularly in the area of liquidation of raw materials and surety bonds.
In terms of trade compliance, a better and more transparent selectivity system for importations, supported by an enhanced VRIS system, will simplify the procedures for assessment. With a better information system, customs should likewise be able to implement a computer-aided system for risk management at the border. For the PEA system, the availability of a data warehouse should enhance its capability for industry, commodity and account profiling, which is preparatory to the selection of auditees. By and large, the customs modernization program should provide great benefits and advantages to legitimate trade, to the detriment of illicit border transactions.