We support our clients, be they government institutions or private sector enterprises, to derive the maximum possible benefit from the global economy. To that effect, measures aimed at reducing the cost of trading or doing business is central to our work on international trade and permeates through our different practice areas. Trade Facilitation is one area where we believe significant progress can be achieved to reduce the cost of trading internally as well as internationally. There are huge variations among countries in terms of the time it takes to clear goods through customs and transit time of goods through border posts, differences that, in some cases, can amount to weeks and months. The problem is compounded for countries which are landlocked. There are tremendous benefits to be gained from trade facilitation measures and immense potential for further development.
Customs play an important role in the regulation of trade across borders and in ensuring a fair, uniform and neutral system for the valuation of goods for customs purposes — and developing a system that conforms to commercial realities and which outlaws the use of arbitrary or fictitious customs values. In addition, customs are increasingly being involved in fighting against counterfeiting, violation of intellectual property rights and illicit transactions.
Our hands-on approach and partnerships, our experts in the field and our working relationship with the trade community in general, has enabled us to develop a capacity to provide highly specialised technical assistance to both government institutions such as customs and private enterprises to, on the one hand, help them to reduce the cost of doing business by adopting modern techniques and on the other hand, to become more competitive in the global market place. Our deep knowledge of countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East allows us to adapt our activities to the realities on the ground. Focusing on customs modernisation in general, we have become increasingly aware of the need for greater transparency and availability of information, the need to facilitate and expedite the release and clearance of goods, the need to ensure the freedom of transit and the streamlining of formalities connected with trade.