Article 7.5: Post-Clearance Audit

Members shall establish post clearance (entry) controls using audit methods on selected consignments and persons.

What is covered?


Post-clearance audit control (PCA) is defined by the RKC as a measure by which customs officials can ensure the authenticity and accuracy of the declarations made prior to receiving clearance. A PCA is undertaken through the examination of records, relevant books, business systems and commercial data.

A post-clearance audit is a critical control methodology for customs and other border regulatory authorities that enables them to apply a multi-layered risk-based control approach. A PCA can be conducted on a case-by-case basis, focusing on targeted operators, selected on the grounds of risk analysis of the commodity and the trader, or in a planned, regular way, set out in an annual audit programme. Additionally, the audit can also be used as a criterion to offer special treatment to certain economic operators.

Such an audit can take place at the premises of the trader, and may take into account individual transactions, the so-called “transaction-based” audit, or cover imports and/or exports undertaken over a certain period of time, so-called “company based” audit. Introducing post-clearance audit reflects a modern approach to Customs control, as it has the effect of offering an immediate release of goods or shorter release times.
PCA can cover all customs regimes– i.e. temporary importation, inward processing, duty-free zones, end-use tariff items – and therefore enhance customs control over some of these regimes which could not be checked at the border, without causing delays and extra expenses to traders.

The overall intent of the provision is to allow for quicker clearance of goods and to save time and cost to businesses while ensuring that due compliance is achieved through an audit mechanism that can be more effectively conducted after the release of goods.

Core obligation

With a view to expediting the release of goods, Members have the obligation to adopt or maintain PCA to ensure compliance with customs and other related laws and regulations. The measure requires the PCA to be based on a robust risk management, which may include appropriate selectivity criteria. Members have the obligation to select a consignment, company or person for a post clearance audit in a transparent manner.

After completion of the audit, the conclusive results and the reasons of such results shall be communicated to the audited person without delay. Members are permitted to use the information in further administrative or judicial proceedings.

When deemed practicable, Members shall also use the findings, results and lessons of the audit to further improve the risk management system.

What is not covered?

The Measure does not prescribe the modalities or methods for undertaking the audit. This detail is left to the Member states so that they may adopt the most practicable and appropriate methods for conducting post clearance audits according to their technical capability.

The PCA provides discretion to Members to implement the risk management system on the basis of the selectivity criteria deemed appropriate by them.
Also, the Measure does not mention whether the risk management system should be IT-enabled or manually operated.

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