The Role of Customs Authorities in Export Administration

customs duties

Export administration is a complex process in which numerous parties participate. Understanding the steps, the documentation and the role players involved is fundamental to your export success. Assuming you are familiar with the services of forwarding and clearing agents and the purpose of customs duties, your next step will be to understand the role of customs authorities in the export administration process. 

The Role of your National Customs Authority

Your country’s customs authority plays an important regulatory role in the export of consignments of goods. Customs officials clear goods for export, collect information for the compilation of trade statistics and monitor exporters’ adherence to specific regulations such as foreign exchange controls.

customs authority

The Role of the Foreign Customs Authority

The foreign customs authority plays an important regulatory role in the import of consignments of goods from other countries. This involves ensuring that goods entering the import country do not contravene any national health, safety, quality or environmental regulations and collecting customs duties and taxes, where applicable. 

Understanding Export Administration

As is the case with every step in the export administration process, your organisation is ultimately responsible for the adherence of your goods to all national regulations, and for ensuring the availability and accuracy of every required document. That means, irrespective of the number of service providers assisting you, if you are to avoid falling foul of the law, you will need to be actively involved in the whole process, from correctly coding your goods according to the WCO’s Harmonised System of classification and organising the delivery of your goods, to customs clearance and, where relevant, the payment of customs duties in the foreign market. Every step and process should be properly researched and carefully followed. Because of the rapidly changing technology-driven world in which we live today, you need to be continually checking on new regulatory requirements and their related implementation procedures, as non-adherence could cost your company dearly.

export administration

Understanding the role of local and foreign customs authorities plays a critical role in your export administration process, but you should not overlook the parts played by forwarding and clearing agents, carriers, insurers, port authorities and various other entities, all of which play a key role in the movement of consignments of goods. To ensure you understand all aspects of export administration, Trade Forward Southern Africa, in collaboration with the International Trade Institute of Southern Africa, has created a comprehensive online training course that provides training on all aspects of export administration, including the role of the clearing agent and the calculation of customs duties. Click the links below to sign up for free and get started.


To sign up to the School of Export CLICK HERE.

If you already have a profile, CLICK HERE to login to begin the module.


One Response to “The Role of Customs Authorities in Export Administration”


  • Reegan Ashley / / Reply

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. Theres no doubt that that you should write more on this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people dont talk about these topics. To the next! Best wishes!!

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