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Cypriot Finance Minister underlines role of Customs role in EU market
2005-05-11 17:18:13

Nicosia, May 11 (CNA)--Cypriot Finance Minister Makis Keravnos underlined here today the central role the Customs department can play in controlling the entry of goods into the European Union Single Market.

Speaking at the second meeting of the Directors General for Customs of European Union member states and Turkey, Keravnos said the Customs department has a significant contribution to the local economy and to the protection of the external frontiers of the Union.

Keravnos said the terrorist attacks in the US and Madrid resulted in a political initiative taken through the Hague Programme on focusing on better border management and improved cross border and cross agency co-operation.

''The current and future role and importance of Customs in terms of revenue collection, external trade regulation, protection of intellectual property rights, protection of society, including security and its effective agency role of environment and health controls, puts it at the forefront as both regulator and facilitator in international trade'', Keravnos said.

He pointed out the pivotal role of Customs as the first and last official point of contact for imported or exported goods liable to Value Added Tax (VAT), adding that ''in Cyprus we are fortunate to have our VAT service as an integral part of the Customs and Excise department.''

''In the context of the Single Market, Customs have a vital role in ensuring that goods enter the tax system rather than disappearing into the black economy, and in preventing fraud,'' Cypriot Finance Minister added.

Addressing the delegates, Keravnos said ''your responsibilities as Heads of Customs are arduous in terms of delivering quality service in an ever changing environment where you have to balance the facilitation of legitimate trade with carefully managed and targeted intervention control''.

''Of course you may not always have the resources available to you which you might like but then again this is the measure of your success in delivering quality results,'' he concluded.

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