COMMISSION OF CONCILIATION AND CUSTOMS EXPERTIZE (CCED)
It is an independent structure established within the customs administration allowing users of customs administration to exercise its rights of appeal. It is chaired by a judge and is composed of representatives from the private sector and the authorities responsible for international trade.
The CCED is responsible for deciding on dispute elements of customs declaration at the time of clearance of goods : value, species or origin.
The handling of disputes under the CCED is exclusively electronically on MIDAC module. This treatment takes place in four phases :
1. At the clearance offices
This first phase is very important as it is to determine the object of dispute, which must be supported on both sides of the two parties with clearly formulated justification.
At the time of inspection of goods (documentary or physical), the customs inspector can contest the declared items on the basis of suspicions about their veracity. He shall inform the declarant and asks him to provide additional information.
Once informed of this challenge, even verbally, or in case of failure to respond to the request in a certain period, the registrant initiates the procedure for handling disputes with the possibility of referral to the CCED, creating a folder on the MIDAC Module and completing the related form.
This first phase consists particularly in exchanges between the declarant and the customs inspector, in order for the latter to confirm or not the suspicions that were the basis of his contestation.
If trade does not result in an agreement between the two parties, the litigation process goes to the next level, after completing the following procedures in the order listed :
- Drafting of the act at the end of expertise,
- Provision of security for the payment of any compromise duties (must be a bank check)
- Liquidation of the customs declaration concerned,
- Payment of duties and taxes regarding to this declaration,
- Release of goods.
However, if the contestation of the customs inspector is based, not on suspicion, but on physical findings, a violation shall be recognized immediately.
2. At the Customs Directorate
This step consists for the Director General of Customs to make a filter on issues from customs offices and to be submitted to the CCED.
To do this, he discriminates the issues that will be returned to the concerned offices for applying the initial declaration, and those who follow the normal course of the procedure for referral to the CCED.
• For the first case, there are files that the grounds of challenge raised by the customs inspector are not sufficient to serve as a justification of the decision of the service for the CCED. In this case, the collector of customs, after communication of the decision, shall refund guarantees ;
• In the second case, the department has the necessary elements to support its challenges.
Regarding the issues that require further investigation to establish objectively the existence of irregularities in the declaration, they will be immediately assigned to the department responsible for ex post verification.
Notification to the registrant
For the issues to be submitted to the CCED, the registrant will be notified of the reasons for the contestation and invited within a time limit of two months, to either acquiesce or to produce a reply confirming its refusal.
• If the registrant agrees to the reasons given by the service, the procedure of establishing an infringement is initiated;
• On the other hand, if the registrant continues not to accept these reasons, he has to send a reply to the administration stating his own grounds. This statement must be received by the Customs, within a time limit of two months, from the date of notification of the letter from the Director General of Customs in the preceding paragraph ;
• If, at the expiration of two months, the declarant gave no answer, silence is interpreted by the customs authorities as refusal.
Referral to the CCED
In the latter two cases, the Director General of Customs has another two months to refer to the CCED and forward the file to the secretariat of the Commission for allocation and competence.
This period starts from the date of receipt of the statement or the expiration of the previous period if the registrant does not respond.
3.At the CCED
Issues and samples review
All issues reported to the CCED are recorded by the secretariat. The Commision members can view MIDAC files. Optionally, they can proceed to the examination of samples.
Hearing, research and analysis
When the Chairman considers relevant to the investigation of the issue, he may prescribe any questioning of persons and / or ask for it to be carried out for analyzes or research.
Moreover, when the dispute is not about the species, value or origin of goods, the Chairman establish the incompetence of the Commission by a non-appealable decision.
Convened by the chairman, members and stakeholders (the Registrant, on one hand, and the customs officer who challenged the declaration, on another hand) or their respective representatives are invited to attend the discussion sessions.
The secretariat is responsible for establishing and send invitations in any way whatsoever, which should in principle be duly delivered two weeks before each session.
The discussion sessions are contradictory, in which the parties are called upon to defend their cause. These sessions are not public.
The Commission shall set a time after which it will make its conclusions. The decision is made in the presence of all members and by majority of votes.
However, after debates and until the expiry of the period fixed by the Commission to make its conclusions, it may happen that the parties reach an agreement. The Commission takes note of that agreement.
In its conclusions, the Commission shall specify, the names of those who deliberate, the subject of the dispute, the name and address of the registrant, a summary of the arguments presented by the parties and the reasons why the solution was adopted.
The secretariat of the CCED provides notification of the conclusions to the parties through MIDAC module.
Decision of the parties in regards of the CCED :
When the parties agree on the conclusions of the Commission, they shall immediately take steps to implement their terms :
• If the results were in favor of the declarant, the customs administration is required as soon as possible to return the security provided with the release of the goods concerned;
• On the other hand, if they were in favor of the customs service, the registrant and/or owner shall submit to the legal action of the issue taken by the relevant provisions of the Customs Code.
However, these conclusions do not necessarily binding on the parties to the extent that they are worth a review. Therefore, each party, if doesn’t agree with the opinion of the CCED, shall inform the secretariat within a period of eight days and has another way to the judicial court. After this period, if both parties fail to respond, the decision of the Commission must be applied.