Multinationals, Importers To Enjoy Technical Advisory Services
…As Ibeke Unveils ITAS
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Ace maritime journalist and consultant, Mr. Okey Ibeke yesterday officially unveiled a, innovative service company known as International Trade Advisory Services Limited (ITAS) to the Nigerian and international trading public.
ITAS according to him offers both multinational and indigenous importers wide range of technical and operational support services tied to Customs Regulatory Compliance.
The ITAS Principal Consultant/CEO during the ceremony at its corporate head office, Lekki Phase 11 Lagos disclosed that its objective is essentially to ‘clear the way’ for all its clients, whether industrial, high net worth or commercial importers, to achieve faster and smarter clearance; and thus accelerate its clients overall productive efficiency and growth.
He explained that services are offered on Classification & Valuation; Fiscal Policy/Trade Regulatory Evaluation; Customs Import & Export Compliance; Excess Duty & Tax Recovery: Training & Support etc. Ibeke notes that ITAS has the wherewithal to take all the stress off its clients.
Ibeke assured on ITAS expertise to take the stress off its clients and to offer a timely, mutually beneficial and rewarding technical support services on all areas of customs regulatory compliance.
“This is in recognition that effective and efficient organizations foster rewarding and lasting relationships with clients. At the core of these relationships is a keen understanding of an organizations’ unique reason for existence or its corporate objective.”
“International Trade Advisory Services Limited is an innovative indigenous brand established by highly trained and experienced professionals, to provide technical and operational support on customs and other regulatory compliance matters for organizations that engage in trade across international borders.
“Our team of experts provides assistance in interpretation of laws/regulations, product descriptions, harmonized tariff codes, valuation, rules of origin, post clearance audit and many more, for the resolution of all import/export compliance and regulatory issues for our clients.
“We develop procedures, training modules and assessment programs to identify compliance defects, develop solutions: and coordinate improvement implementation. We provide professional resources and broad skill sets for clients such as technical specialists, licensed customs brokers, logistics experts, project managers, accountants, lawyers, freight forwarders, and auditors.”
Fielding questions from journalists, Ibeke explained that part of its support services is to eliminate any or all its clients’ worries and or disputes relating to customs regulatory compliance.
“Our deep sense of commitment assures a win-win relationship with our clients and regulators in the international trade value chain. Our integrity and competence combine in qualifying us to deliver world class advisory services, backed by our long established relationship with Nigeria’s compliance, enforcement and regulatory agencies and the World Customs Organization.”
Going beyond the mere externals that ITAS technical services entails, Ibeke further offered a graphic pictorial explanations of the dynamics of its interventions in all areas of disputes and engagements.
The correct tariff classification of goods is a key component of customs compliance in trade practices. Accurate harmonized tariff codes are part of advance trade data requirements and a key focus for customs authorities when conducting full or targeted compliance audits.
We work with our clients to analyze the function, form and composition of import or export products and use appropriate tools and tariff classification procedures to determine the proper tariff classification. Upon request, or when required, we can also research all rulings issued by World Customs Organizations, Nigeria Customs authorities and assist our client to obtain a ruling.
Hence our clients benefit from accurate and compliant classification of their products. This positions our client company to take advantage of preferential duty rates through international free trade agreements.
Customs authorities are increasing their focus on compliance verification audits, and valuation is a key area they usually look at. Given the various methodologies, determining the value for duty of goods can be incredibly complex. Commissions, assists, royalties or related party transactions need to be considered, and getting it wrong can result in repayment of higher duties and financial penalties.
International Trade Advisory Services Limited, therefore, helps a client to ensure correct valuation method, the right pricing relationship with related and non-related vendors, and correct payment of duties.
As part of our Valuation Determination services we will:
- Understand the business process surrounding our client’s import transactions.
Review related documentation such as sales agreements and invoices.
* Validate customs valuation method used and, where there is a mistake, determine the correct methodology, accurate valuations, and recommend corrective actions, necessary audit trail and documentation to support the valuation.
This assures our client the peace of mind knowing that his valuation is accurate and in compliance with the specific rules for assigning a value for duty. He is thus prepared for an audit and can avoid potential customs penalties.
VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURES & APPEALS
Everyone makes mistakes. Customs authorities recognize that errors and oversights can occur, and thus make it possible for you to come forward and correct your non compliance after the designated time limits.
You can voluntarily disclose the non-compliance to Customs, make the necessary corrections and pay any outstanding duties and taxes with interest. However, once Customs discovers the error or initiates an audit with you, voluntary disclosure is no longer an option.
We can determine if the client meets the criteria for voluntary disclosure and guide him through the process of submitting and receiving acceptance. Our trade consultants will:
- Review the non-compliant issue and its scope within trading practices. Prepare an accurate report of the error or omission. Discuss the implications with Customs and submit the voluntary disclosure.
- Negotiate with Customs to mitigate any penalties and interest.
By using our services, one can minimize the risk of penalties, fines and loss of importing privileges by addressing issues of non-compliance before they are discovered by customs authorities.
According to Ibeke, ITAS is strictly a technical and operational support service company and in no way involved in customs brokerage or freight forwarding; even as he assured of its company’s capacity to resolve any issue relating to all its undertakings.
ITAS has on its team professionals and experts with proven track records, including retired senior ranking customs officers.
“Our trade consultants have the skills and the zeal to handle any dispute, appeal or trade action our client needs to undertake – no matter how complex. We guide him through the appeal process -from the initial contact and liaising with customs authorities through to formal legal representation.
“Our team fully understands the process, preparation and strategic considerations necessary to improve the likelihood of securing a favorable outcome. Our client benefits by reducing his provisional payable duties and maximizing the refund of extra duties once the case has been resolved.”