Belgrade, September 13, 2018 – In Serbia, a simplified and digitized procedure for customs clearance of express consignments is being implemented, which will contribute to the fact that most of the express consignments will be processed in a minimum period of time – it was announced today at the final workshop of the project “Introduction of simplified procedure for customs clearance of express consignments”.
In cooperation with the Customs Administration, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications of the Republic of Serbia and express operators, the project “Introduction of simplified procedure for customs clearance of express consignments” was realized by the German organization for international cooperation GIZ within the German-Serbian development cooperation. The closing workshop of the project held in Belgrade at the Crown Plaza Hotel was also attended by customs officials from the Western Balkans, who, by following the model of Serbia, are implementing the same project within the GIZ Open Regional Fund for the Promotion of Foreign Trade.
“Soon you can expect that about 80% of the consignments sent through courier operators will be released for free circulation within an hour after arriving, which was unimaginable so far”, Assistant Director and Coordinator of the Customs Administration Veselin Milosevic announced at the beginning.” In order for the express consignments to be really express, it is necessary to enable their express clearance, which we managed to achieve by completing this project”, Milosevic explained.
The speed of receiving consignments is of great importance when it comes to consignments such as production components, samples, important contracts, or business documents. A new, fully electronic way of customs clearance will contribute to saving time and costs for both economic operators and citizens while encouraging foreign trade and direct investment.
The key to the success of this project and finding the most suitable procedure for customs clearance of express consignments for Serbia was the cooperation of representatives of state institutions and the private sector, emphasized Suzanne Hartmann, the leader of the Alliance for Trade Facilitation project. According to her, during the planning and implementation of the project, this cooperation was not only established, but also raised to a higher level. “Of great significance for the success of the project was the local and global operational expertise of express operators. Their experience and insights into good practice have contributed greatly to finding solutions that are adequate for Serbia”, concluded Hartman.
Her assessment was confirmed also by Tatjana Dinkic from the Secretariat of the National Coordinating Body for Trade Facilitation, which was established by the Government at the initiative of the business community, in November last year. “Within the Coordination Body for Trade Facilitation, the most active group is the expert working group for customs procedures that has already fulfilled planned activities, including the Introduction of simplified customs procedures for express consignments”, Dinkic concluded, and she added that the systematic and common approach of public and private sector to the issues that appear in foreign trade is very important and contributes to the efforts of the Government of Serbia and its partners in the process of facilitation and simplification of foreign trade.
The importance of simplifying and digitizing the procedure for customs clearance of express consignments for foreign trade, but also for economic operators and citizens, was pointed out by Assistant Minister of Finance Snežana Karanović. “The Trade Facilitation Agreement allows for the creation of a more favorable environment for the business of economic operators. In this sense, this agreement does not only apply to the implementation of customs procedures, but also integrates all other institutions that together with the customs participate in the foreign trade process. A simplified customs procedure with express consignments in accordance with the mentioned Agreement is of great importance, both for citizens and economic operators, and we are very satisfied that it is being successfully implemented”, Karanovic said. The Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Serbia has provided the necessary support to the new procedure through the Regulation on changes and amendments to the Regulation on Customs Permitted Treatment of the Goods, which came into force in August this year.
The new simplified procedure is in line with the regulations of the European Union and the World Trade Organization and is completely electronic. Participants in the workshop who visited the Customs Office in Novi Banovci for this purpose could also be convinced of the manner and speed of the functioning of the procedure. The practical use of the application was presented to the participants and interested media representatives on this occasion, thanks to which the realization of this process is possible.
The success of the project “Introduction of simplified procedure for customs clearance of express consignments” in Serbia and Montenegro has inspired other CEFTA members to initiate activities to improve this procedure. Implementation of projects has already begun, and the experience and lessons learned in this process by Serbia and Montenegro will be very important for the success and speed of the development of these projects.