I am passionate about imports, exports, international trade issues and Customs affairs.

          Most people who are involved in this area of work never planned to be involved.  This is something that one stumbles into, or something that happens to you by accident.  And when you’re in it, it’s something that grows on you.  There is an expression that we Customs folk occasionally say… “Once in Customs, always in Customs”.

          In my case, I had already decided to pursue a career in imports and exports.  I was studying a Diploma in Export Management and International Trade when I first approached the Department of Customs & Excise.

With only a year into my studies, I picked up a previous assignment, changed the date of the document and approached the training division of the local Customs Branch Office.

My objective had less to do with the assignment and more to do with building contacts in industry.  You must appreciate that at this point I was a farmer.  I knew nothing about the industry.

I was so impressed by how the Customs instructor assisted me that I immediately applied for a job there.  That was nearly 20 years ago.  Then, about 8 years ago I made a leap to the other side of the fence.  I joined a Freight Forwarding and Customs Clearing company, namely UTi International (recently acquired by DSV) where I still work today.

          A lot of changes have taken place since I became involved in Customs.  First, there was the amalgamation of the Departments of Customs & Excise and the Receiver of Revenue, to form the SARS (South African Revenue Services).

Then there was Customs Modernisation, which brought with it a multitude of developmental changes.  Now we have globalisation, which brings with it a new era of supply chain security and legislative compliances.

          The most recent of these changes requires companies and their personnel to know more about Customs affairs than before.  It ushers the concept of self-compliance, participation and understanding.

          This is what my blog is about; sharing information about Customs affairs.  The aim of this Blog is to help readers to understand how day-to-day customs activities work.  Topics include aspects relating to tariff, valuations, and rules of origin, legislative issues and basic Customs requirements.

           Readers are encouraged to write to me with comments and questions about the sections.  Readers are also encouraged to write to me with additional reading requirements that they may have.

Graeme Lennie

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