The FIDI Customs Guide for household goods and personal effects is currently divided into two publications per country: the Import Guide and the newly published Export Guide.
Until now, this publication was only available to FIDI Affiliates (see ‘Historical background’ box). So why has FIDI taken the decision to open it to everyone? The response is quite straightforward – its overwhelming success.
With the publication of the guides on FIDINET in 1996, FIDI’s customs guides became one of the most consulted online services by FIDI Affiliates. The guides were shared with customers and partners, leading FIDI to undertake a major redesign in 2017.
As the guides could not be accessed directly by customers or their operational team on FIDI’s website, the FIDI community started publishing copies of the guides on their servers and public websites – and the trend was followed by non-FIDI affiliated companies. This led to outdated versions being shared and used by customers, and customers sometimes contacting FIDI directly for customs information.
Accordingly, the FIDI Board decided to make the customs guides publicly available when the new FIDI website was launched earlier this year.
Why is this beneficial to Affiliates?
1. You can now give your customers, staff and agents direct access to the FIDI customs guide library. This is a great benefit for them and a powerful additional marketing tool for your company. To do this, simply add a link from your website to the FIDI customs guide library at www.fidi.org/about-fidi/customs-guides
Remember, when creating the link, set it to open in a new page, so the visitor’s link to your company website will remain open, too.
2. You have access to the latest edited version of the FIDI Import and Export Guides – there is no longer a risk of distributing old information.
3. Private and corporate clients looking for customs regulations end up on the FIDI portal – which leads to increased exposure for FIDI-
Recommendations to benefit fully from this tool
It is crucial for FIDI Affiliates to take the following actions:
1. Immediately remove any FIDI guides from your server and website
2. Create a link from your website to the FIDI customs guide page www.fidi.org/about-fidi/customs-guides
3. Inform your operational staff to regularly consult/download the guides on fidi.org
We would like to express our thanks to the FIDI Associations and their country customs ambassadors for their valuable contribution in reviewing the import and export regulations annually.
We would love to hear your views. For all questions, feedback, suggestions or recommendations for edits, contact email@example.com
FIDI’s customs guides were designed in the 1950s, when there were still borders between European nations. At the time, FIDI was a European-centred organisation and European traffic was mostly by road – and relatively complicated because of the various customs regulations that were applied by each nation.
To help FIDI members, updated European customs regulations were published in the FIDI Vade Maecum, the predecessor of FIDI Focus magazine.
By the 1980s, FIDI was a global organisation and joined forces with FEDEMAC to produce customs information on a global level. The FIDI Customs Manual – the previously called Red Manual – was born and is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.
Testimonials from FIDI Affiliates
Feedback from Nicki French, General Manager – Operations, Grace Worldwide PTY LTD, Australia (top, right):
‘How often are you facing a situation where shipments are turning up where the inventory is not comprehensive enough or does not match the goods, the shipper is not entitled to duty free entry or other similar issues?
‘All these problems could be easily avoided if sales at origin actually took the time to investigate what is required at destination to clear the goods. Such a research is crucial and beneficial to all. It is consequently in the advantage of all FIDI Affiliates to use the FIDI Import Customs Guides and promote these as widely as possible.’
Feedback from Ashley Saunders, Manager, International Commercial Operations, Atlas World Group, International (Seattle, USA) (top, left):
‘At Atlas World Group International, we have created our own customs guides for many years. Extra time was spent to review the customs guides and ensure the latest versions were available to our customers.
‘Now that the FIDI customs guides are available on the FIDI public website, we decided it was the perfect time to switch and use the FIDI guides as we can quickly access the latest information in a format that’s easily sharable. Our next step is to update our website and link to the FIDI customs guides to ensure the latest and most accurate customs information is available to our current and prospective customers.’