Customs is a public body that controls and regulates the entry or import, and exit or export, of cargo, merchandise, documentation, transportation, passengers and, sometimes, even foreign exchange, at the borders of a country.
Customs are responsible for tax collection and for the control and registration of international movements of products, people or currencies of a country.
Customs are located at strategic points where there is a flow of entry and exit of products, people or currencies and are divided into three types of customs:
- Maritime customs: it focuses on traffic through the sea and is usually found in the country’s seaports.
- Air customs: controls traffic through the air, therefore it is located in the country’s international airports.
- Land Customs: Manage traffic through the land. It is located at the places of entry and exit of the country’s borders.
Customs depends on the Ministry of Economy and aims to:
- supervise that the laws regarding the import and export of a given country are complied with,
- collect the associated taxes,
- ensure safety and health and,
- collect statistics on international trade traffic.
A customs agent has the power to import and export merchandise and facilitates the shipment of the merchandise, people or foreign currency in the customs clearance process.