Umm Qasr

Customs authority launches electronic system at Basra port

BASRA — The Customs Authority of Iraq has introduced an advanced electronic system at Umm Qasr port to streamline customs processes and enhance trade facilitation.

The Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, is at the heart of this transformation. ASYCUDA is designed to manage most foreign trade procedures, handling customs declarations, manifests, and accounting processes. By adhering to international standards and providing Electronic Data Interchange capabilities, the system ensures efficient and uniform customs procedures.

Key reforms introduced alongside ASYCUDA include the elimination of tax guarantees at border crossings, the removal of import licenses for most goods, and the reduction of fees for certain imports. These changes are expected to facilitate legitimate trade, reduce transaction times, and limit the discretionary power of customs employees, which in turn, aims to reduce potential biases and corruption.

Import licenses, which have been abolished for most goods, previously served as regulatory measures controlling the entry of specific items into the country, affecting areas such as public health and safety. The move to eliminate these licenses for most goods signifies a significant step towards easing trade processes.

Finance Minister Taif Sami highlighted that automating customs aligns with global standards and is a key component of the government’s strategy to adopt best practices in customs management. The system is designed to improve financial discipline, minimize errors, and support the transition to a digital economy. It promises to bring about cost reductions, enhance the speed of transaction completion, and support environmental sustainability by reducing paper use.

This initiative represents a move to aligning with local, regional, and global economic changes and standards set by the World Customs Organization.

'Counterfeit goods' seized in the Port of Umm Qasr

'Counterfeit goods' seized in the Port of Umm Qasr