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Enhancing Customs Regulations for Transparent Trade: A Comprehensive Analysis

In the ever-evolving world of international trade, regulatory frameworks play a vital role in ensuring transparency and efficiency. The recent amendments to Article 113 of Law No. 22,415 (Customs Code) and its subsequent sections mark a significant stride towards streamlining customs procedures and bolstering the professionalism of personnel within the Argentine Customs Administration. Let’s delve into these changes and explore their implications for businesses engaged in foreign trade.

Article 120 ter: Embracing Digital Transparency

The introduction of Article 120 ter mandates that all regulations pertaining to foreign trade operations be disseminated through official electronic channels. This progressive move aims to enhance accessibility and awareness. The key provisions include:

(a) Official and Electronic Publication: Regulations must be published through official electronic media, ensuring a wider reach and ease of access for all stakeholders involved in international trade.

(b) Adequate Lead Time: A crucial aspect is the stipulation of a reasonable timeframe between the publication of measures and their enforcement. This provision ensures that businesses have sufficient time to adapt to new regulations. Moreover, the term “regulations” encompasses technical classificatory opinions from the Tariff Classification Division. These opinions, once approved, become mandatory in any ongoing infringement proceedings. The Argentine Customs may also decide to publish additional acts deemed essential for administrative transparency, safeguarding fiscal confidentiality.

Article 120 quáter: Streamlining Processes through VUCEA

Article 120 quáter introduces streamlined processes for third-party organizations falling under the purview of Article 8 of Law No. 24,156. The emphasis is on utilizing the Argentine Single Foreign Trade Window (VUCEA) for electronic submission of permits, authorizations, and relevant information. The obligations cover:

A. Electronic Processing: Organizations are required to process permits, authorizations, and related information electronically through VUCEA for import and export operations.

B. Harmonization with N.C.M. Positions: Identification of goods based on Mercosur Common Nomenclature (N.C.M.) positions is mandated in regulations governing international trade. The obligation includes procedures for declarations, permits, certifications, licenses, and other authorizations. Furthermore, any changes to regimes regulating international trade must be promptly communicated to VUCEA within one business day through the “Official Communications” module of the Electronic Document Management System (GDE).

Article 120 quinquies: Professionalism in Customs Personnel

Recognizing the importance of professionalism, Article 120 quinquies emphasizes the need for a transparent framework in the development of Customs functions. The Argentine Customs must promote hiring procedures guided by principles of objectivity, neutrality, merit, capacity, publicity, and transparency. This includes ensuring professionalism and neutrality in the selection process by the entity or personnel overseeing it.

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Amendments to Customs Code Chapters and Articles

Several key amendments have been made to various chapters and articles of the Customs Code, further enhancing transparency and efficiency. Some notable changes include:

Article 116: Revamping Title II, Section III

The nomenclature of Chapter Four of Title II, Section III of Law No. 22,415 is revised to “Direct Clearance to Plaza and Advanced Declaration,” signaling a shift towards more proactive and anticipatory customs processes.

Article 117: Adherence to Designated Locations and Documentation Submission

Article 130, replacing Article 117, emphasizes that international transport vehicles must adhere to designated locations, routes, and schedules. Additionally, the presentation of required documentation, as specified in this title, must be made electronically through the customs service-established information system.

Article 118: Modernizing Documentation Submission

The revised Article 131 entrusts the Federal Public Revenue Administration with determining the formalities for preparing, presenting, and processing documentation upon the arrival of transport vehicles. The emphasis is on electronic submissions through the customs service’s established system.

Article 119: Import Destination Application

Article 217 introduces a requirement for importers to apply for import destination either in advance or within fifteen days of the transport vehicle’s arrival.

Article 120: Anticipated Resolution for Customs Treatment

Article 226 outlines the concept of anticipated resolution, an administrative act issued by the customs service before importing goods. Importers can seek clarification on issues like tariff classification, origin, or valuation of goods. The regulation establishes validity conditions, application procedures, and a maximum 30-day timeframe for resolution. In case of non-compliance within the stipulated timeframe, importers have the option to apply for import destination under the terms initially proposed, following Article 234, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Customs Code.

Conclusion

These legislative amendments signify a paradigm shift in Argentina’s customs regulations, aligning them with global best practices for transparent and efficient trade. The focus on digital platforms, streamlined processes, and professionalism underscores the commitment to creating a conducive environment for international commerce. As businesses navigate these changes, a proactive approach to compliance will be essential for harnessing the full benefits of these regulatory advancements.

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