The artificial intelligence is a way to improve the compliance of the economic operators with the regulations on preferential origin, non-preferential origin, value and classification; shortly, it is a way to:
- make more robust the pillars of customs obligation on which it is based the audit for the AEO authorization;
- Well assess and mitigate the risks of non-compliance and, therefore, reduce or avoid: audit costs, operational disruptions, legal expenses;
- Implement the internal customs knowledge and expertise and the internal skills to develop internal controls (monitoring).
The preferential origin is the status of the goods are eligible for the free trade agreement rules. The free trade agreement is is an international treaty between two or more customs territories that reduces or eliminates certain barriers to trade in goods and services, as well as investment.
In particular, this status requires compliance of the goods with:
- Rules of origin provided by the free trade agreement (FTA): these rules list the working or processing sufficient to make an eligible final good from non-originating materials. In the EU FTAs the rules of origin can be grouped into the following categories: – that only wholly obtained materials can be used; -that non-originating materials from certain positions can be used in or are excluded from the working or processing; – that a specific working or processing operation must be carried out; – that a certain percentage of value is added or cannot be exceeded in the production process; – combination of different rules; – a choice between different rules is given.
- rules of transport provided by the FTA (direct transport/non-manipulation): this rule aims to ensure that the goods arriving in the country of import are the same as those which left the country of export.
- Other rules provided by the FTA.
- Proof of origin: to claim for the status of preferential origin, the economic operator has to accompany the goods with the required document like: EUR.1, statement of origin with (for EU) either approved exporter or the registered exporter.
The AI can:
- collect, checks, corrects data related to the above listed points and gives evidence of the compliance with AEO points. Indeed, in the SAQ (Self-assessment questionnaire for the AEO) there is the question 1.3.4 “a) Give an overview of the preferential or non-preferential origin of the imported goods. b) What internal actions have you implemented to verify that the country of origin of the imported goods is declared correctly? c) Describe your approach in the issuing of proof of preferences and certificates of origin for exportation…” explained in this way: “…1.3.4 For question (b), internal actions would normally include measures on how you ensure that: the exporting country is entitled to give a preference and that the goods attract a preferential rate of duty; the direct transport/non-manipulation requirements are met; a valid and original certificate or an invoice declaration is available when preference is claimed; the certificate or invoice declaration is appropriate for the consignment and that the origin rules are met; there is no opportunity to duplicate use of the certificate/invoice declaration; import preferences are claimed within the period of validity of the certificate/invoice declaration; the original certificates/invoice declarations are retained as part of the audit trail in a safe and secure manner…”;
- follow up the development and changes into the framework of the existing free trade agreements which for the EU are: Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Faroe Islands / Denmark, Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Israel, Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Egypt, Jordan,Lebanon, Syria, North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia – Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Andorra, Africa , the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Central America Association Agreement Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Republic of South Korea, Ceuta and Melilla, Canada, Japan, Singapore, United Kingdom; Vietnam.
- Manage, in a predictive way, the declarations of origin located into the EU or, when it is possible, for cross-borders operations. AI should avoid the infringement of the regulations according to European Union Guidelines application in the European Union of the provisions concerning the supplier’s declaration “…4 Consequences of incorrect supplier’s declaration. An incorrect supplier’s declaration may lead to an incorrect proof of origin being issued based on the erroneous supplier’s declaration. This could mean that the importer would have to pay (back) duties for a single or multiple consignments as there is no valid proof of origin necessary to obtain the preferential duty rate. An erroneous declaration may not only lead to loss of a customer or requirement to repay charges (depending on contract) but may also entail other consequences e.g. tax or criminal law. Further actions by the customs authorities may be possible if erroneous supplier´s declarations are also made out by an approved exporter…”.
## non-preferential origin/made in.
It is the economic nationality of the goods and, differently from the preferential origin, is a necessary quality of the goods. It means that a goods can’t be “preferential” in the sense of non-compliance with FTA rules but must have a “made in”. AI should be an useful support in checking the following elements of the non-preferential origin described in the Guidance of non-preferential origin-2022:
- The last substantial processing or working should result in the manufacture of a new product or represent an important stage of manufacture;
- It is necessary to identify whether the working or processing carried out is economically justified;
- the working or processing of goods must have been carried out in an undertaking equipped for that purpose.
- The working or processing of goods must result in the manufacture of a new product or represent an important stage of manufacture.
The customs value is the real economic value of the goods. In the SAQ of AEO there is the question n. 1.3.3 for which “…a) How and by whom is the customs value established? b) What quality assurance measures do you take to ensure that the customs value is correctly established (e.g. checks, plausibility, checks, internal working instructions, regular training, other means)? c) Do you regularly monitor the effectiveness of your quality assurance measures? d) Do you keep notes on these quality assurance measures?…” . AI could implement a system of checks and corrective actions based on the above mentioned questions.
The customs classification is the techincal and legal process aiming to find out the proper HS code for each good. The question n.1.3.2 of the SAQ requires “…a) How, and by whom, is the tariff classification of goods decided? b) What quality assurance measures do you take to ensure that tariff classifications are correct (e.g. checks, plausibility checks, internal working instructions, regular training)? c) Do you keep notes on these quality assurance measures? d) Do you regularly monitor the effectiveness of your quality assurance measures? e) What resources do you use for tariff classification (e.g. database of standing data on goods)…”. Also in this case, AI could implement a system of checks and controls based on the AEO questions.
Finally, this analysis of the customs obligation pillars, performed by means of the AI developments, is a good starting point to:
- Monitor the AEO compliance by adding the AI topics;
- Monitor interesting areas of AEO
- Confirm the reliability of the onwer of the AEO by means of the AI checks.