Friday, September 29, 2023

Customs is cracking down on “fake couriers” who buy space in travelers’ suitcases

Customs will allow more personal items to be taken tax-free, but will tighten controls on those who buy suitcases in suitcases for business purposes.

After six years, the National Customs Service of Ecuador (Senae) has made adjustments to the list of Items that travelers You can enter Ecuador by air without paying taxes.

This means that passengers can from September 15, 2023 Bring more spirits, perfumes and creams, as well as bigger TVsprovided they are intended for personal use, as shown in the following table:

Although the Income from tax collection of the imported items slowed downthe measure will have one almost no impact on the state budgetsays customs director Ralph Suástegui in an interview with PRIMICIAS.

Suástegui says that with that Listing updatebudget will stop receiving about $120,000 per year.

The advantage, however, is that customs officials will have more time to devote to combating the surge Smuggling problem at airports from Ecuador: the companies that present themselves as Couriers, but they’re notbut they are Buy seats from the suitcases of other travelers to evade taxes.

Why did you only increase the odds in certain categories? What criteria did you take into account?

It is part of an improvement and modernization process. The last update was in 2017 and market realities have changed.

For example, when the regulations were first put in place, a 41-inch television was extremely large and unusual. Back then there were still 26-inch televisions, but today they are almost non-existent, the new standard is 32 inches.

We also took the opportunity to address topics that were not regulated, including smartwatches and wireless headphones that did not exist in 2017.

For example, in the case of smartwatches, there was a case where someone brought seven and said they were Christmas gifts. There the customs officer had to conduct an analysis and make a decision, but now the norm is that you can only bring one new and one used one.

The decision was made based on a technical study in which we took into account standards from other countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela.

The decision was made based on a technical study in which we took into account standards from other countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela.

And although we are now getting closer to the standards of these countries, we are still below them.

Why should we compare ourselves with these countries that are much larger than Ecuador?

We compare ourselves with Colombia because it is a neighboring country. And with Brazil and Venezuela, because these are markets that traditionally focus on protecting national production.

Venezuela and Brazil have a somewhat protectionist view of trade and we are even below them. That’s why we saw that there is room for improvement.

Could TV quota changes impact the local assembly industry?

The number of televisions in airport arrival halls is so low that the local industry is not particularly concerned. When we spoke to them, it was about smuggling at the land border.

Last year only about 1,000 televisions arrived in airport arrivals halls. Because of the size and the delicate nature of taking them on the plane, people prefer to take a suitcase with other items rather than a TV.

Last year, around 1,000 televisions arrived in airport arrivals halls.

In addition, the Ecuadorian market has very competitive prices.

Those who take the risk of bringing TVs are the ones who buy them really cheaply during times like Black Friday.

You cited the technological update as the reason for the changes in the listing, but what was the motivation for the change in segments like spirits, vitamins and beauty products?

In neighboring countries you are allowed to take up to 10 liters of alcohol with you, that would be too high. With the change we are now halfway there, i.e. five liters.

There are even countries where the quota is stated in dollars, for example a maximum of 3,000 USD.

That would mean 75 bottles of whiskey could be imported at $40 each, but that doesn’t reflect the spirit of the Senae rule.

On the other hand, in the United States, where they are most commonly brought in, vitamin bottles are very often one or two kilos in size. I don’t think anyone would bring 8 kilos of vitamins to a pharmacy.

Previously, creams, lotions and other beauty products were frequently introduced, but with the arrival of brands such as Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret in Ecuador, travelers’ cream entry at the airport decreased.

With the introduction of brands such as Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret, the flow of creams by travelers at the airport decreased.

We allow a little more freedom in these categories because we know that the biggest problem with smuggling is not at airports.

But it often happens that people on social networks offer to take products with them in their suitcase. Isn’t there more space given to these activities?

We are strongly committed to trade facilitation, which is nothing more than intelligent control.

Which is a problem, and we have already seen that it is these companies that have up to 30,000 followers on social networks and that present themselves as couriers to deliver goods, which is not the case.

We have identified companies that advertise themselves as if they were couriers, but they are not.

It is a complete system, it is not an individual traveler, but a distribution company that focuses on paying traveling people to sell the seats in their suitcases.

In some cases they can move between 2,000 and 3,000 kilos per month.

Have you identified which companies these are? What actions will they take?

We need to separate the people who do it to make some money without knowing that it is something illegal. Although it is contraband and affects imports, its sporadic distribution makes controlling it much more difficult.

We have identified around 20 people, including companies that claim to be couriers but are not, and other people who are also involved in smuggling through airports.

We collect all information to detail the sanctioning processes.

Sanctions include fines and criminal proceedings, which can even end in prison.

Sanctions include fines and criminal proceedings.

How much would Customs stop collecting with the planned changes to the list of products travelers are allowed to import as personal items?

The fiscal impact is minimal, we estimate it would be about $10,000 per month, which is not within the scope of the general state budget.

The fiscal impact is minimal, we estimate it would be around $10,000 per month.

The tax declaration of products that exceeded the quantities provided for in the previous list took time for the user and customs agents. It seems more important to us to focus our time on these companies that bring large quantities of goods to market.

In order to avoid “liveliness”, we will definitely introduce a fine.

What do air travelers most bring with them for personal use?

They bring most personal care and beauty products, as well as technology items such as cell phones.

We also noticed that many electronic cigarettes arrive, but they are not on the traveler’s personal items list. We pay attention to that.

We had a case where a person brought 120 electronic cigarettes that were clearly not intended for personal consumption. Offered for sale. We address this issue with customs information and understanding where the entry points actually are.

What other changes are planned?

We will work on improving the risk profiling system for travelers, simplifying procedures and regulations to increase security in import logistics chains in ports and airports.

However, we are still evaluating what changes we can make to cross-border imports of personal items by land.

This is more complex and has different meanings because it is easier to transport smuggled goods by land.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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