On the occasion of the national Renaissance Day, the Royal Oman Police, represented by the Directorate General of Customs, have announced the introduction of a new advance rulings programme to facilitate international trade through the Sultanate’s points of entry.
The programme is one of several initiatives planned to further empower the trade sector in Oman and will allow businesses to obtain advance rulings to import and export before starting the actual importing and exporting process. The programme also seeks to guide businesses on how best to manage goods during the import and export process.
The introduction of the advance rulings programme is part of ongoing government efforts to achieve the ambitious goals of the Sultanate of Oman Logistics Strategy 2040 (SOLS 2040), which aims to establish the Sultanate as a regional and international logistics hub.
In line with this goal, the advance rulings programme aims to facilitate international trade by accelerating the clearance process at all points of entry, as long as importing and exporting criteria are met by the trading party and the advance rulings has been obtained from the customs authority. This programme is expected to reduce costs, improve clearance times, and increase confidence in Oman’s logistics infrastructure among local, regional and international trading partners.
The advance rulings programme allows businesses to request a decision on clearance through the Directorate General of Customs prior to any actual import or export procedure relating to the origin, classification or valuation of the goods. The Directorate General of Customs will then study the request and issue a pre-ruling based on a specific timeframe, in addition to an official letter explaining the correct steps trading partners need to take during the import and export process.
These provisions are binding for each customs transaction for a specified period of time, provided that the import and export conditions are the same as those stipulated in the request.
Commenting on the new programme, Colonel Khalifa bin Ali bin Nasser al Sayabi, Director General of Customs, stated that: “The advance rulings programme is just one of a number of initiatives that will significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of customs services. The program will also allow further development of our internal capacity by providing us with prior notice of anticipated customs transactions, while strengthening the relationship between the Directorate General and the trading community.”
Col Al Sayabi added: “We at the Directorate General of Customs are keen to develop our partnership with the trade sector and, in providing services which improve trading outcomes by easing customs procedures, preserve and grow the supply chain.”
The introduction of the advance rulings programme demonstrates the Sultanate’s commitment to facilitating the movement of goods at crossings and points of entry, in line with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, while providing businesses with more consistent, systematic and transparent goods procedures, which in turn will support a more competitive and robust trade sector.