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Customs & Trade Facilitation

Easing global trade

Goods transported yearly by air cargo worth in excess of $6.4 trillion, representing one third of global international trade. However, the industry faces multiple challenges to be competitive. Border delays are especially costly for air shipments, and a critical matter for the survival of air transport as speed is aviation’s key advantage.

The World Customs Organization (WCO) implemented the SAFE Framework of Standards to enhance the security of the international supply chain and promote trade facilitation. It establishes standards to harmonize Advance Cargo Information (ACI) requirements. Since its adoption in 2005, many countries have started to put into effect ACI conditions, but not always aligned with those WCO standards.             Customs

IATA’s objective is to provide a standard approach to comply with government regulations that require the provision of cargo information. This way the movement of cargo can be facilitated for both airlines and forwarders and unnecessary delays at points controlled by Customs can also be avoided.

Need for a standard and harmonized approach

To develop a more proactive relationship with Customs administrations, IATA collaborates with the airfreight supply chain partners through the GACAG Trade Facilitation Task Force. In addition, IATA has established a group of airlines experts in customs matters, the Customs Advisory Workgroup (CUSAG). This group develops industry position papers and deals with security and customs issues:

The IATA Cargo-XML messages are becoming the preferred standard for the fulfilment of customs requirements in ACI filing. This new standard is consistent with the WCO Data Model, ensuring compatibility with cross-border regulatory agencies and international organizations.

National Customs information

In order to improve the security of the global supply chain, and in accordance with SAFE, an increasing number of countries are shaping legislation to require advance electronic submission of data on goods passing their borders.

The Air Cargo Tariff and Rules (TACT) includes an e-Customs section covering ACI, along with specific requirements for countries worldwide. Data and documentation about local regulations can also be found in the national Customs websites.


Additional information

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