Functions of Customs Authorities
- Collecting and recording statistics: Customs authorities collect statistics of imported and exported goods and services. This is useful for a country to assess trends in quantities and value f goods and services traded. Balance of trade and balance of payment is calculated from this information.
- Control: They supervise the movement of goods in and out of the country. This includes:-
- ensuring that illegal goods are not smuggled into the country
- inspecting cargoes
- inspecting documents such as invoices, bills of lading and airway bills
- enforcing enbargoes – there is a total ban on import of certain items such as drugs and firearms. Customs authorities enforce such laws regarding import and export.
- Revenue: The customs authorities collect the duty payable on imports.
- Enforcement of Quotas: The customs authorities ensure that the goods imported are according to the limit imposed by the government.
- Public Health: They have certain functions in connection with the control of infectious diseases. There could be certain goods such as meat and live animals which could be a threat to public health. Customs authorities are watchful at ports and airports for any such goods.
- Enforcing immigration regulations: In some countries customs officials also may enforce immigration regulations.
Supervision of bonded warehouses
Dutiable goods are stored in bonded warehouses until their customs duties are paid. Customs authorities supervise those bonded warehouses. Bonded warehouses are not owned by customs authorities. They are provided by airports and ports authorities at airports and docks, or by private companies in main cities.
Imported goods which are to be re-exported are also stored in bonded warehouses. Import duties are usually not taken on such re-export goods. If duty has been charged, a refund called customs drawback can be claimed by the imported when the goods are re-exported.