The Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), in collaboration with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), hosted a joint workshop entitled Customs Valuation from 17 to 20 July 2023 at the WCOESA Regional Training Centre, Level 6, Custom House, Mer Rouge. The workshop has enhanced the skills and knowledge of customs officers to counter customs undervaluation fraud. This event saw the participation of 35 staff from the Assessment Section at the Customs Department – an excellent opportunity for experts from the UK and Mauritius to work closely together and learn best practices.
HMRC ‘tailor made’ this workshop to meet the requirements of the MRA. The course was delivered by HMRC officers Mr John Osborne, Fiscal Crime Liaison Officer, Mr David Morgan, Tax and Duties Compliance, and Mr David Patterson, Tax and Duties Compliance.
The course has enhanced Customs Officers’ knowledge and sharpened their skills, helping to counter customs undervaluation fraud, trade-based money laundering (TBML) and detect other fraudulent commercial practices. Combating TBML involves risk assessments, enhanced due diligence, information sharing, technology, training, international cooperation, and strong legislative frameworks. By implementing these actions, customs can contribute to global efforts to combat money laundering and protect the integrity of international trade. As one of the three pillars of the Customs Trilogy, Customs Valuation is an important process used to determine the value of imported goods for the purpose of assessing customs duties and taxes.
Mr Vivekanand Ramburun, Director, Customs Department, and Chief Guest to the function, said: ‘customs authorities use internationally recognised valuation methods, primarily governed by the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Agreement on Customs Valuation (ACV), to determine the customs value of imported goods. It is important for importers to provide accurate and complete information regarding the value of imported goods to customs authorities. This workshop has helped MRA ensure that the declared value of goods on the import documentation is accurate and reflects the actual price paid or payable for the goods.’
Mr Jamie Scattergood, UK Deputy High Commissioner to Mauritius, said: ‘As island nations with a shared history of maritime trade, it is great to see the deepening cooperation between the UK and Mauritius in the fields of customs and anti-money laundering. Doing trade with integrity benefits us all by providing a level playing field for legitimate businesses and closing down opportunities for criminal activity.’
Mr Tom Green, Countering Illicit Finance Advisor at the British High Commission in Mauritius, commended Mauritius and the United Kingdom’s long- standing relationship. He highlighted the efforts made by both countries to strengthen their financial systems, enhance due diligence measures, and promote international standards in combatting illicit finance. ‘Through sharing of knowledge and skills, and a strong partnership, cross-border issues can be addressed,’ he said.
Mr David Patterson, Tax and Duties Compliance, HMRC, stated that ‘the training is purely on Customs Valuation, which provides the necessary knowledge and expertise to help determine the customs value, comply with customs regulations, and effectively manage customs related matters.’
MRA looks forward to conducting such trainings with a view to constantly update its personnel on any latest customs-related developments. Such capacity building programmes serve as a recognition of the effort undertaken by Mauritius in strengthening its financial regulatory framework and implementing effective fiscal measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.