Taipei, November 28 (CNA) Taiwan’s customs administration has suggested that US-based e-commerce platform iHerb change the way it processes imported shipments after the online retailer suspended service to Taiwan because of what it calls strict customs procedures.
The agency said its customs enforcement system remained unchanged and iHerb would need to work with licensed customs brokers and courier services to get its goods cleared through customs more easily.
iHerb, which offers more than 30,000 health and natural products, announced without warning last week that it was suspending service to Taiwan.
He complained that Taiwan’s new customs clearance process, customs control flows and rigorous customs inspections have had a major negative effect on his urgent shipments to Taiwan.
iHerb said it was working hard to find solutions to the customs issues and would only resume service in Taiwan after the issues were resolved.
But the customs administration argued that iHerb’s complaints did not identify the main problem.
The problem arose, he said, when iHerb improperly used a simplified customs declaration procedure to clear six lots of more than 10,000 iHerb products in October and the goods were intercepted.
According to Taiwanese regulations, imports of health food and medicine must be cleared using the usual customs procedures, rather than the simplified process used by some courier services, and all related documents must be attached, the agency said. .
Regulations have not been changed and iHerb shipments have not been intercepted due to new customs enforcement measures, he said.
The customs administration said it has asked the express couriers to relay the message to iHerb that Taiwan has not changed its customs regulations and that if it uses licensed customs brokers who complete the declarations of import in accordance with the regulations in force, its shipments will be cleared smoothly.
But if the company insists on incorrectly reporting the imported goods, the problem will likely happen again, he said.
Meanwhile, customs officials have said that people who purchase dietetic foods or health supplements in capsule and tablet form abroad for personal use are not required to apply for an import permit from the Food and Drug Administration and the Customs Service.
The quantity of what can be imported for personal use is however capped at 12 bottles (boxes, cans, bags) per item and the total number of products in a single shipment is capped at 36 bottles (boxes, cans, bags), according to the regulations.