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Exporters/importers urged: contribute to security

Exporters and importers urged to contribute to security

Importers and exporters had a vital role to play in New Zealand’s security by ensuring authorities knew exactly what was arriving in or leaving the country, Customs Minister Rick Barker said.

The New Zealand Customs Service is currently working with importers, exporters and their agents on a number of measures to improve the accuracy of import and export entries.

“Accurate information about what is legitimately crossing this country’s borders is a critical first step in identifying possible security risks,” Mr Barker said.

Every trader is required by law to lodge an entry with Customs providing information on goods being shipped in or out of the country. The information is processed by Customs to identify and target any high-risk goods and build profiles of such shipments.

Mr Barker said he was concerned to hear from Customs that a number of import/export entries contained errors or were late.

For example, a recent snapshot sample indicated that at least 25 percent of entries lodged contained errors.

“Customs staff are now working with Customs Brokers and the Freight Forwarders Federation on establishing standards and providing industry training to improve the accuracy of import/export entries,” Mr Barker said.

Customs is also reviewing the system allowing exporters to gain a derogation (exemption) from the legal requirement to lodge export declarations 48 hours prior to shipment.

“While there are some exceptions requiring flexibility with the provision of such information, it appears many exporters are relying on derogations rather than looking at what they can do to get their information in on time,” Mr Barker said.

Customs is also working with other government agencies and business on a quality assurance model to assure our trading partners about the security of New Zealand export products and to meet information-sharing requirements.

“This will bring together all those involved including export businesses, transport companies, and government agencies, to provide assurance about supply chain security,” Mr Barker said.

That may mean introducing new technology such as container x-ray equipment or electronic container seals. However, Mr Barker stressed that no decision had been made about implementing such technology.

“The costs and benefits will have to be carefully weighed up first.”

More information for importers, exporters and their agents is available on Customs website www.customs.govt.nz or from any Customs office. Business will also be kept informed about ongoing security developments.

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