New customs procedures take effect

06/12/2013

The co-ordination of customs procedures in the region will help will regulate trade and save time and money.

By Bedrana Kaletović and Drazen Remikovic for Southeast European Times in Sarajevo and Podgorica -- 06/12/13

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Croatia has been using the new system for about two years. [Bedrana Kaletovic/SETimes]

The New Computerised Transit System (NCTS), which decreases the length of customs procedures and aids in smoothing border crossings and the flow of goods, is one of the conditions to join the EU. As they pursue European accession, countries in the region are better regulating their own trade markets as well.

The implementation of the system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Montenegro will additionally strengthen co-operation between the two countries, improve their economies and bring them closer to EU standards.

The NCTS, which must be implemented at least a year before full EU membership, is successfully used by 32 countries: 28 Union members and four European Free Trade Agreement members. Because it allows complete information exchange in electronic terms, it has been dubbed "paperless customs."

"The greatest advantage of the new transit system is the possibility to use the electronic messaging and information exchange, instead of the old procedure of having to file papers on each border crossing. This will allow an entered transit declaration to be reused during the entire transportation, and the goods will be trackible in any moment," Svjetlana Perkovic, the manager of the project at the Indirect Taxation Board of BiH, told SETimes.

The new system is expected to be in place in BiH in 2015.

BiH has been preparing its regulations for the project for the past year, obtaining the appropriate equipment and developing its own IT applications. BiH officials will share their experiences with their Montenegrin colleagues, who are beginning the programme now.

"The customs administration is currently working on the creation of national plan for the development of the project. The application of this programme will facilitate the border crossing of goods, lower transit costs, and in doing so create a better placement of Montenegro goods and increase competitiveness of the Montenegrin economy," Snezana Vuckovic, assistant director of Montenegro's Customs Administration, told SETimes.

In order for the system to move from implementation to routine action, it is necessary to educate everyone involved in the chain of business, including farmers, drivers, shippers and inspection officers.

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The biggest challenge will be the application of new customs rules, procedures and applications.

Despite the upcoming learning process, many have high hopes for the new system.

"I look forward to the standardisation of the customs system for us who transport our goods into other markets. Long waits and lines, traffic jams at border crossings due to the lack of system co-ordination and organisation, have been creating problems for us. Fruit is not the kind of product which can wait, and I often had losses because of this," Senad Jahic, a strawberry producer from Celic, BiH, told SETimes.

How will the new customs system help regional countries in their anti-corruption efforts? Tell us below.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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