On June 5, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree on reforming customs administration and improving the activities of the state customs authority of Uzbekistan.
The document notes that "paperless and electronic customs are not developing at the proper level, and methods of combating smuggling and the movement of counterfeit goods, corruption, illegal currency transactions and tax evasion require the use of modern and proven methods of customs administration.”
The Decree established that from August 1, railway transport organizations shall provide online free of charge information to the customs authorities on the movement of wagons and containers under customs control within the country.
From September 1, the Single Window customs information system shall be introduced at border customs posts.
From November 1:
- the time for registering cargo customs declaration shall be reduced from 3 days to 1 day depending on the level of risk;
- cases of customs convoy of goods shall be reduced with expansion of use of alternative types of customs control;
- risk management system of the State Customs Committee shall be implemented at road border customs posts;
- in case of temporary import of vehicles, the carrier shall be entitled in online mode in electronic form to extend the stay and pay the fee;
- in the “processing in the customs territory” regime, the methods for identifying and assessing the rate of egress of processed products shall be developed by firm.
The State Customs Committee has been additionally entasked to:
- conduct customs audit after the release of goods as a form of customs control;
- coordinate the work of bodies of sanitary-quarantine, phytosanitary control and veterinary supervision at checkpoints across the border over their application of non-tariff regulation of foreign economic activity;
- conduct deep factor analysis of the structure and dynamics of imports and exports of goods, as well as analyze the reasons for increase in imports, both in physical and cost terms;
- establish cooperation with interested departments on issues of deepening production localization and expanding industrial cooperation.
In addition, customs authorities are now allowed to audit goods and vehicles with visits to places of their storage and sale, as well as to check the records of imported and (or) exported goods and vehicles, including accounting and reporting documents, as well as primary documents.
The Department for Combating Smuggling and Customs Violations has been transformed into the General Directorate for Combating Smuggling and Customs Auditing, while the Department of Customs Expertise and Commodity Nomenclature for Foreign Economic Affairs has been transformed into the Department for the Control of Non-Tariff Regulation in Foreign Economic Activities and Customs Expertise.
The decree also approved the Concept for reforming customs administration and improving the efficiency of the state customs service of Uzbekistan in 2020-2023. It included recommendations of the World Customs Organization and approaches based on the experience of advanced countries.
The Concept lists a number of systemic problems and shortcomings that hinder the successful implementation of the customs policies. Among them are ineffective and excessive control functions of customs authorities, outdated procedures, bureaucratic barriers, long time of customs operations, low level of throughput of checkpoints and others.
The main areas of the development of customs authorities for the next three years are: improving the legal framework, ensuring transparency and efficiency of the customs authorities through the introduction of modern ICTs, simplifying tariff and non-tariff regulation of foreign economic activity, combating smuggling and others.
Among the expected outcomes of the implementation of the Concept:
- increase in customs payments to the budget by 25% annually due to the improvement of logical control functions;
- a 3-fold increase in the throughput capacity of border customs posts due to the expansion and modernization of the main border crossing points;
- reduction of customs clearance time by 5 times for export and 2 times for import due to the improvement of the Single Window customs information system;
- reducing the number of offenses committed by customs officers.