Ethics Standards of Customs Brokers and Sectoral Compliance Pact
Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Customs and Trade; Ethics and Reputation Society of Turkey (TEID); Istanbul Association of Customs Consultancy; Izmir Association of Customs Consultancy; Ankara Association of Customs Consultancy; Bursa Association of Customs Consultancy; Mersin Association of Customs Consultancy
This initiative focuses on fighting corruption in customs operations, bringing together Turkey’s leading customs consultancy firms and the public sector to address issues including corrupt practices and fair competition.
The initiative began when 250 leading customs consultancy firms undersigned an integrity declaration on 26 January 2013, International Customs Day, in the presence of Mr Hayati Yazıcı, Minister of Customs and Trade of the Republic of Turkey.
The initiative has a formalized structure, including a written document. An ethics committee of the members of five associations (in five different cities) was formed to oversee the following:
- The formation of a joint committee with the ethics board of the Ministry of Customs and Trade and to implement an anti-corruption program in customs
- To establish a business ethics academy for the education of all individuals giving service in the customs operations
- To oversee any potential non-compliance of their members to the pact.
The initiative covers all integrity risks concerning customs operations, from corruption to practices against fair competition.
The initiative seeks to attack corruption and all integrity related barriers in customs operations with a holistic approach, through the partnership of NGOs, public and private sector.
At the time of writing (end of 2013), the action is in its early stages and is now moving towards implementation. The associations of customs consultants are bodies established under the provisions of the Customs and Trade Code, thus are not purely NGOs. All regulations are being cross referenced in order to ensure the legitimacy of the sanctions of the joint committee.
The highest risk with regards to the work and authority of the "Ethics Committee of the Associations of Customs Consultancy" is identified to be that the members of the committee are also competitors in their business routine. Governance of the board with full transparency is considered to be a highly delicate issue. The support of the government, on the other hand, has exceeded expectations. They have taken concrete steps both technically (e-customs) and legislatively (through changes in by-laws in order to ease the project's implementation).
Stakeholders regard the initiative as a success on account of it being an unprecedented initiative in a sector with a damaged reputation. There is also caution however, as no major visible successes have yet been achieved. Cause for optimism remains though with all pre-determined/planned steps taken thus far in accordance with the initial project timeline. The support of the government is also seen as highly positive.