COVID-19 update: Vanuatu is no longer Covid-free, the Government has advised of a Community Transmission and a lockdown on Efate.

International travel restrictions are in place at the border, but no restrictions on the movement of freight. For more information, visit the official COVID-19 website.

ASYCUDA World Project bringing further reform to Customs

The implementation of ASYCUDA World in Vanuatu is more than a modernization project. It is an opportunity to bring about further reform to Vanuatu Customs to efficiently meet its national objectives of collecting revenue, protecting borders and facilitating trade. This week we bring you two of the major reforms currently being carried out in Vanuatu Customs.

First, the creation of Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs.

The ASYCUDA World Project Team, in consultation with Customs, have been working on creating very simple and easy to use SOPs covering all aspects of the cargo clearance process.

Amazingly, this will be the first time that Vanuatu Customs will ever have cargo clearance procedures documented for its Officers and external clients to use. In the past, Customs Officers, usually learn on the job with no documented guideline on how to carry out their duties. Not only can this mean inefficient revenue collection and trade facilitation, it can also mean inconsistent and poor service delivery to those in the trade industry. It is therefore worthwhile mentioning that during the drafting of these SOPs, some identified processes will be adjusted to be more efficient. This was anticipated in such a reform exercise.

Standard Operating Procedures, are a set of step-by-step instructions to assist those concerned carry out their routine operations. SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance, while reducing miscommunication and failure to comply with Customs regulations. In the recent Integrity workshop in Fiji attended by Vanuatu Customs Officials, it was identified that having SOPs in place will also allow administrations deal with integrity issues when they do arise.

These newly created SOPs will assist the Project Team in preparing the ASYCUDA user profiles and the user guides for both the internal and external users. And since the SOPs are proposing some business reengineering, they will be submitted to the Customs Reform and Modernization Committee for approval in its September meeting.

The other major reform currently taking place in preparation towards the live implementation of ASYCUDA World is the adoption of the 2017 edition of the World Customs Organization (WCO) Harmonized System (HS).

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System generally referred to as "Harmonized System" or simply "HS" is a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the WCO. The HS contributes to the harmonization of Customs and trade procedures, and the non-documentary trade data interchange in connection with such procedures, thus reducing the costs related to international trade.

The system is used by more than 200 countries and economies as a basis for their Customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. Over 98 % of the merchandise in international trade is classified in terms of the HS. Vanuatu has been using this Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System since 1988 and every 5 years, the WCO releases a new version of the HS. Vanuatu currently uses the HS 2012 edition.

A dedicated Tariff Team has been appointed since July 2016 to undertake the extensive task of transiting to HS2017. The Team has now completed both the English and French versions of the HS. They are now carrying out consultation with other Government department and Industries to decide on the national splits and subdivisions, to support Vanuatu’s national concerns and sensitivities. It is therefore vital that all the Government departments concerned provide their utmost support to the Tariff Team to ensure a successful implementation of the HS2017.

Once this work is completed, the new HS will be uploaded onto the ASYCUDA World database pending submission to the Council of Ministers and the National Parliament for approval, before the system goes live by January 2017.

Please click on the ASYCUDA World Project logo on our website for Monthly Newsletters of this Project.



Who We Are?

Customs and Inland Revenue, is a large and diverse department with over 100 employees spread across Vanuatu. With Office locations in Port Vila and Luganville and the provincial centers at Lenakel, Lakatoro, Saratamata and Sola.

What We Do?

To protect the community from potential risks arising from international trade and travel, while facilitating the legitimate movement of people and goods across the border, and collect legislated government revenue.

Our Government

Where to find us?

La Casa D'Andrea E Luciano Building, Rue Pierre Lamy, PMB 9012, Port Vila, VANUATU
Phone Number
+678 33010

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