Customs After Corona

04/07/2021 General | H.E. Ali Saeed Alneyadi

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Corona virus (Covid-19) Novel is an exceptional case never encountered by customs sector throughout its history over many countries. Despite of the adverse impacts of such pandemic to public health, national economies, growth rates and social stability worldwide, it carries positive dimensions of magnificent impact to customs activities all over the world. Of the most prominent positives impacts thereof, shedding light on custom sector's vital role in supporting security system in any community, maintain its stability and protection against external risks in addition to its notable role in facilitating trade movement, securing community requirements of principle and necessary materials and commodities during crises in addition to its role of economy motivation and breakthrough growth advancement through provision of facilities to traders, importers and exporters at the time of crises and emergencies. Indeed, Corona pandemic represented real test of customs community worldwide as the severity of such pandemic lies in sharply hitting customs backbone, human resources or people. On the ground, customs sector in the UAE and worldwide has proved success in this test by applying precautionary measures and flexible plans to ensure business continuity and protecting humans against risks while maintaining community protection and ensure the continuity of trade movement as regular and accordingly, contributing to augment national economies in confronting the virus. Careful perusal of Corona pandemic and its lessons learned reveals that post Corona customs will not be as before pandemic; pandemic will have impacts on customs sector operational strategy whether in the UAE or worldwide after expediting the approval of remote working mechanism as a modern approach of working in customs sector, a mechanism that will bring positive impacts in many work environment relevant dimensions, quality, services rendered and their channels, and employed technologies therein in addition to community based dimensions as mitigation of traffic congestion in addition to other dimensions. Furthermore, it is ascertained that the pandemic will actuate world customs departments to reconsider the concept of customs security and risk management, and expanding its extent to include natural emergencies, crises and disasters as well as customs workforce health and safety so that we might witness, over short term, customs role reinforcement in protecting community security against external risks and threats emerging from trade movement by way of supporting and strengthening customs entities and departments across the world and providing state-of-the-art required customs instruments and devices in addition to leveraging international customs cooperation in more efficiently customs risk management than currently adopted. Additionally, on the ground steps will be taken to transform customs ports to smart ports controlled and monitored via artificial intelligence technology and 4th industrial Revolution as well as authorizing electronic and smart services as a key approach to render customs services by means of entire service automation, greater reliance on technology as effectual tool and medium among customs departments and customers in addition to authorizing advanced devices and artificial intelligence in processing customs operations, inspection and screening in customs port, a filed where Emirates Customs ranked a pioneer and has come a long way to be an a worldwide model in this field. As well, in post Corona customs, customs sectors shall assume magnificent role in supporting nations' budgets and stimulating economic growth via offering customs incentives and facilities, simplifying required procedure to process transactions and, likely, reconsidering service fees with an aim to mitigate supply chain burdens and costs while leveraging growth rates in trade exchange and interchange among countries. In conclusion, post Corona customs is set to witness massive changes in customs, security and strategic philosophy in addition to business mechanisms, priorities and aspects paying more concern to human factor and its skills and knowledge based on technology base as most world customs departments will tend to implement, within few years, what can be metaphorically called "Customs Smartization" which purports wholly transformation of customs operations and ports to smart operations and ports.

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