Source: General Directorate of Customs
In terms of the situation created by the pandemic of COVID- 19, the customs authority has taken measures not to interrupt the supply of goods at all border crossings. Passenger crossings are prohibited, while the movement of goods is functional in each customs branch.
The Customs Authority continues to implement the Order No.30098 of the DPD Customs, date 06.12.2019 for the operation 24/7 of the border customs points with the CEFTA countries, a measure envisaged to precede the Balkan Schengen, a measure which has been suspended for the time being as it has not been implemented by other border parties. Also, in accordance with this measure, a reconciliation of other structures operating at the border is required.
As part of the pandemic, the customs personnel were provided with protective measures and the disinfection of the premises was carried out at all points of the crossing. Currently, despite the fact that we are working with reduced staff the continuation of the work of the customs service at all its points is guaranteed.
Also, in the framework of measures and based on the order of the Ministry of Health No.131 date 08.03.2020, the export of medicines and medical equipment and medicines from our territory has been banned.
At the central level, the work with reduced staff is being administered by offering some online services with the staff working from the residential premises but by offering every convenience provided in the customs legislation.
Information is currently being exchanged between the CEFTA Parties through the SEED platform for international exports and transit. Electronic alerts have been implemented in the SEED system. They are functional for both customs and AKU personnel.
UNCTAD experts have reflected in the AW Central Server the changes in the transit declaration for box 36, enabling the selection in the declaration of the codes ‘EG - Essential Goods’ and ‘NEG - Non Essential Goods’. This modification is also reflected in the SEED Server, enabling the generation of XML messages for the exchange of data in this field with other CEFTA parties in transit.
DPD through the point of contact has made a daily report 7/7 at the Permanent Secretariat of the Transport Community for the time of crossing and the flow at the border crossing point Kakavijë, Durrës, Morinë, Qafë Thanë, Hani Hoti.
All tightening and facilitating measures in import, export, transit, have been published on the Customs Web site.
The General Directorate of Customs has approved several orders as measures taken for the current situation as follows:
- Order No. 6697 date 3.04.2020 on the exclusion from the rule of territorial jurisdiction of foodstuffs (flour, sugar, oil, pasta, bread, cake, biscuits, rice, cheese, butter, yogurt, salt, water, milk, eggs) ) in order to accelerate the import procedures of these items within the measures to cope with the situation of natural disaster. Based on this order, the economic operators who import the above goods are enabled to perform the customs clearance procedures directly at the border, regardless of the place of performing the activity, saving time / cost for the transition to the internal customs terminals.
- Based on the European Commission Guide on Customs Issues during the Emergency during the COVID- 19 Crisis Period with Reference of TAXUD 1813731 date 30.03.2020 and the letter of the EC no. TAXUD / 2110517/20 date 31.03.2020, addressed to all countries parties to the Pan-European Mediterranean Convention, in relation to the presentation of evidence of preferential origin during the CoVid19 period, the GDC approved Order No. 6895 /1 date 09.04.2020 “On the procedures for accepting the certificate of preferential origin during the COVID-19 crisis”.
This order provides that until a second Order, after the completion of the natural disaster situation, in order to implement preferential tariff treatment, the certificate of preferential origin issued by EU countries will be accepted even in cases where it occurs. As a copy of the original EUR-1 certificate signed and stamped as well as when the EUR-1 certificate is issued electronically. Only agrarian products with tariff quotas are exempt from this order.
- Based on the Verbal Note of the Italian Embassy addressed to the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs ( letter No. 1077 Prot, date 03.04.2020) which raises concerns about the impossibility of issuing certificates of non-preferential origin from the Chambers of Commerce and Italian Industry during this period of the COVID- 19 crisis. DPD issued Order No. 9, date 07.04.2020 "On the procedures for accepting the certificate of non-preferential origin during the COVID- 19 crisis".
This order provides that up to a second Order, in order to implement the customs legislation, the certificate of non-preferential origin issued by the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Italy, will be accepted even in cases when it is issued electronically.
- The GDC has approved Instruction No. 4, date 15.06.2020 "On the determination of the goods of the first need in the transit declaration" on the basis of which for the goods considered as the first need "essential goods", according to the agreed list with CEFTA member countries, Hani Hoti, Morina-Kukës, Qafë Thanë border customs offices take all necessary measures to give priority in terms of accelerating the movement for entry / exit to / from the customs territory as well as customs procedures for the customs destination designated by their host.
- The GDC has drafted Order No. 16, date 21.04.2020 "On the implementation of measures to facilitate the transport and trade of priority goods", for customs branches, on taking logistical measures to identify green lanes and practical guidelines for prioritizing customs control procedures of goods of primary need.
At the Customs checkpoints, there were no additional problems for the situation, taking into account the fact that there are no vehicles / buses and passengers and all the staff is focused only on performing customs procedures for goods.
All the freight transport, international and domestic ones, by road, railway, sea and air, are all allowed to operate.
All the ferry lines with Italy and Greece for passenger transport are suspended until an undefined date.
All the airlines with Italy and UK are interrupted for an undefined period of time. The other airlines are still operating in Tirana International Airport, depending on the restriction measures of the destination airports.