In response to the government’s cloud policy, the Customs Administration of the Ministry of Finance launched a four-year plan starting in 2021 called “Smart Customs in the Cloud Era”, which aims to expand the government’s cloud utilization. The Customs Administration will introduce artificial intelligence to develop “AI Tariff Classification Services”, and deploy convenient services such as “Cross-Agency Vehicle Information Exchange”, “Authorized Economic Operator Certification”, “Customs e-Application”, and “Open Data Value-added Service” on the public cloud.
The Customs Administration explained that the tariff classification of merchandises determines the tariffs to be imposed and the amount of tariffs rate. As such, it is the biggest concern for the trade stakeholders. In practice, tariff classification is quite a complex and professional task. Apart from accumulating experience, customs officers also need to judge a lot of criteria and reference materials. However, the judgment process tends to fall under tacit knowledge, which is difficult to pass on or transparent to the public.
For better customs service quality and tariff classification capabilities, the Customs Administration will adopt natural language processing and machine learning technologies. The extraction of customs’ enormous tariff expertise, experience, and data will be developed to “AI Tariff Classification Service”, providing friendly and gradual queries for users to look up the tariffs. In addition to raising the accuracy of tariffs declarations to speed up cargo release, this service also effectively assists customs officers in tariff classification, contributing to enhance the transparency of customs clearance and reduce the doubts about the tariff classification.
The Customs Administration indicated that the “Smart Customs in the Cloud Era” is one of sub-projects of the third phase of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program initiated by the National Development Council and will be primarily applied to the government’s public cloud resources to boost citizen services. In the future, besides “AI Tariff Classification Service”, other aforementioned convenient services will be deployed to the public cloud. A “Data Analysis Platform” will also be built on customs private cloud as an AI development and training environment. It is expected that through the use of the hybrid clouds, more intelligent and innovative applications will be developed to realize the vision of smart customs in the cloud era.