1. What key trends and developments have you observed in the market that you are responsible for?
Today, the customs brokerage is much more demanding. It is not just about the knowledge on how to write a customs declaration, but also computer and communication skills and broad knowledge of related legislation are required.
Customers start to use our consulting services more and more already in the phase of contract negotiation, what helps them in preventing the occurrence of complications or penalties resulting from poor or only marginal customs knowledge. For our customers three criteria are most important: speed of clearance, credibility and level of compliance.
I also see a higher tendency to more tailor-made solutions, including the development of sophisticated tools such as our web portal where contract customers can online find their customs declarations or invoices used, have a possibility to export all data to Excel and generate own reporting or add their own data and notes directly into this tool.
"For our customers three criteria are most important: speed of clearance, credibility and level of compliance."
2. Are there any new regulatory events – customs related – happening in your environment that customers should know about?
After decades of releasing barriers and restrictions on foreign trade and hence in customs, for the last several years we have to deal with new and increasing restrictions now.
Given the events in the Crimea, restrictions imposed on Russia are gradually expanding and Russia comes with its retaliatory steps, which forced many Czech engineering and food companies to focus on other markets.
Unfortunately, in the US the imposition of anti-dumping duties of 25% respectively 10% followed for steel and aluminum imports also for goods coming from EU, what required a retaliatory introduction of 25% on imports of selected US products into the EU.
China has now introduced additional duties of 18.1-103.1% on stainless steel and ingots. In addition, the question of 25% duty on cars and car parts imported into the US from the EU is still unresolved. And this is how we could continue to enumerate sanctions against Iran or still open questions related to Brexit, where we already have the solutions for our customers.
3. What makes you very proud of your team right now?
Most Gerlach employees recognize that it is them who make Gerlach as Gerlach is. For me personally, the greatest achievement is that we treat each other with respect and pull together in difficult situations. And for this, a big thank you to all Gerlach Customs employees, because only a cohesive team can constantly outperform itself. Year-over-year results confirmed again Gerlach’s dominant position in the Czech market.