Customs valuation is the method applied to establish the customs value of imported goods for customs duty purposes. The importation and exportation of products are usually subject to various tariffs, duties, other charges, and related restrictions for customs purposes in every country. The percentage rate of customs duties to be levied on a given product is calculated by the value of that product, therefore the valuation is extremely important for the correct determination of customs duties. There are diverse methods for estimating the value of a product at customs, which can be just as problematic as the calculation of the actual customs duty imposed. Discretionary reliance on a method can cause anomalies and the imposition of an exaggerated amount of customs duties, with trade-restrictive effects.
Introducing some degree of uniformity in the method of customs valuation and its regulation became necessary, and this was accomplished by Article Ⅶ of GATT 1994 and WTO Customs Valuation Agreement.
The Agreement has elaborated rules of Article Ⅶ of GATT 1994 for their uniform and consistent application and implementation. It seeks to introduce uniformity, transparency, and fairness in standardizing and harmonizing national customs valuation methods, to the exclusion of all arbitrary and fictitious valuation for customs purposes. It has prescribed the transaction value of an imported product as a basis for its customs value in order to establish a non-discriminatory and neutral system that is responsive to modern commercial realities and valuation procedures.
This article deal with the contents of the Agreement and analyses methods of customs valuation.