COOPERATION BETWEEN THE CUSTOMS ADMINISTRATION AND THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
One of the most important priorities of the Customs Administration is the cooperation with the business community, i.e. establishment and cultivation of partnership relations with the businesses. The partnership between the Customs Administration and the business community is realized through the activities of the Advisory Body which represents a forum for exchange of opinions. The Advisory Body was created in January 2009, in conformity with the World Customs Organization’s standards or more precisely, the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of the Customs Procedures. The Advisory Body consists of the following members:
- Customs Administration,
- Economic Chamber of Macedonia,
- Macedonian Chambers of Commerce,
- Chamber of Commerce of Northeastern Macedonia,
- American Chamber of Commerce,
- Association of Independent Unions of Transporters of Republic of Macedonia- MAKAMTRANS,
- Association of Macedonian Enterprises for International Road Transport – AMERIT and
- Macedonian International Freight Forwarding and Logistics Operators Association (MIFA).
The basic principles of the Advisory Body are the following:
- promotion of the partnership between the Customs Administration and the business community,
- high level of trade facilitation and security,
- modernization of the customs procedures and
- professional development and training.
The cooperation is manifested through regular monthly meetings of the Advisory Body at which the members and the expert guests exchange opinions on the subject matter. Besides the regular meetings, the Advisory Body also organizes extraordinary meetings, as required. These meetings are used to discuss outstanding customs matters and to propose measures for tackling problems. The Advisory Body keeps records on the drawn conclusions, responsibilities for action upon such conclusions, deadlines and progress. The obligations deriving from the conclusions are mandatory for the Advisory Body’s members.
The cooperation between the Customs Administration and the business community is also realized through other forms of communication. The free of charge customs telephone number 197 has been available 24/7 since November 2003. This number provides the possibility for the business community to denounce irregularities in customs procedures, customs officials’ misuse of their official status and to declare problems which have arisen during the performance of the custom procedures, the resolution of which is coordinated by the Communication and Coordination Department at the Customs Administration.
The forum “Questions, complaints, suggestions” that is available on the Customs Administration’s web-site, offers to the economic operators the possibility to ask questions and receive answers regarding the permitted customs treatment or utilization of the goods. An “Info” electronic address is also accessible for the representatives of the business communities, for customs related queries.
The communication and cooperation between the Customs Administration and the business community is also done through direct meetings. The Customs Administration is always at its partners’ disposal.