Structural changes to the customs rules with a more punitive system


Among the changes made to the Customs Act, we´ve found the following between the most relevant:
 
1. Any vessel carrying out international traffic must have a representative domiciled in the country domiciled where operations will be made. The representative should place a guarantee permanently and sufficiently for the National Treasury to cover the expenses that may be incurred by carriers, which will be jointly liable with their representative. Representatives from owners may provide a single guarantee for all those lines they represent.
In addition vehicles arriving in the country which do not have the required legal representative may not practice any operation or activity until they have fulfilled the requirement.
 
2. The goods must be delivered by the carriers, shippers or their representatives, to the buildings, warehouses or customs warehouses approved no later than the next business day after the discharge, specifying shortages and over bumps to the customs administration. Not complying with these requirements will represent fines depending on the extend of the delay to the aforementioned parties including agents.
 
3. The reform includes a new article renumbered Article No. 41, which indicates that consignees most submit to the Customs Administration the “Early Information Statement” for the entry of goods into the country.
 
4. In the case of imports, the goods must be declared no later than the fifth business day after entering the country or admission to the storage area for exports.
 
5. The consignee might claim the cargo directly alongside the vessel without the agents intervention in case all legal requirements including the customs clearance is obtained.

6. The fines and sanctions have increased even in 1000% in comparison with the previous customs act.
 
7. Cargo manifest must be delivered to the customs administration up to 48 hours before the vehicle arrival to the port. Additionally amendments to the cargo manifest can be made up to one day after the vehicles arrival (art 20).

8. In case shortages aren’t declared as per point 7, will create a presumption that the merchandises were introduced to the country underground and therefore all taxes cost must be paid as if the cargo would have arrived normally without prejudice to the applicable fines for the misdeclaration.

9. Art. 161 places fines up to 1000 UT (VEF 137.000) as per discretion of the customs administration if they believe that any party (carrier, agents, etc) have impeded or obstructed the work of the customs administration. This is a very punitive and blank administrative rule (unconstitutional in my opinion) that gives too much discretion to the administration to place fines.

Given the recent publication of the new rules and the unknown extend of it´s applycation, we´re monitoring and studying the impact these act will cause on the bussiness as well as the negative reprepercution we believe it could bring considering the severe increase of the punitive side of the rules which may affect all parties for causes sometimes not adjudicable to the fined entity. We will continue to publicate circulars on the matter once more information is gathered.

Should you have any question about this or any other matter, please don’t hesitate on contacting us.

Carlos Carrasco
Operations Manager
Venepandi, C.A.

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