This is a customs procedure applied to determine the customs value of imported goods. If the rate of duty is ad valorem, the customs value is essential to determine the duty to be paid on an imported good.
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Short Historical Overview:
Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) laid down the general principles for an international system of valuation. It stipulated that the value for customs purposes of imported merchandise should be based on the actual value of the imported merchandise on which duty is assessed, or of like merchandise, and should not be based on the value of merchandise of national origin or on arbitrary or fictitious values. Although Article VII also contains a definition of “actual value”, it still permitted the use of widely differing methods of valuing goods. In addition, ‘grandfather clauses’ permitted continuation of old standards which did not even meet the very general new standard.
The 6 Methods:
For cases in which there is no transaction value, or where the transaction value is not acceptable as the customs value because the price has been distorted as a result of certain conditions, the Agreement lays down five other methods of customs valuation, to be applied in the prescribed hierarchical order. Overall the following six methods are considered in the Agreement:
Method 1 — Transaction value Method 2 — Transaction value of identical goods Method 3 — Transaction value of similar goods Method 4 — Deductive method Method 5 — Computed method Method 6 — Fall-back method