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The Virtual Customs Office

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The Customs officer belongs to one of the longest established professions in the world, full of traditions and values. However, the world continuously moves on in order to keep up with demands of the 21st century (increased volume of trade abolition, new technologies, etc).

For example, the economy of Sweden is dependent on foreign trade and Customs is big business there. This resulted in the introduction of the virtual Customs offices and sophisticated automated risk-analysis operators.

The virtual Customs office contains a number of integrated, interdepartmental E-Services important for the Swedish business community.

The objective of this project was to provide a Virtual Customs Office, offering a high level of service, for example, service in a range of languages, currently numbering ten.

The Swedish Virtual Customs Office offers customers free web-services for Customs business in order to facilitate day-to-day work and also strengthen Swedish competitiveness.

Through automated clearance systems, 70% of the declarations are treated within three minutes. Currently the following client groups use the numerous services integrated into the Virtual Customs Office: Frequent Traders, Infrequent Traders, Citizens, Students, Press and Media.

Thus, the long term objective for The Virtual Customs Office is to give total mobility to Customs procedures. In order to achieve this, tailor-made electronic and web-services according to the needs of each of the customer segments are made available for free in the areas Information, Communication, Tools and Transactions.

Exercise 19.Read Text 4 again to find the English equivalents for:

давно существующая профессия; соответствовать требованиям; зависеть от внешней торговли; деловое сообщество; содействие торговле; высокий уровень услуг; автоматизированный анализ рисков; цель проекта; облегчать (упрощать) повседневную работу; укреплять конкурентоспособность;обрабатывать декларации.

Exercise 20.Choose the facts in the text to prove that:

1. The virtual computer is an old dream, a long story associated with the evolution of the computer.

2. Virtualization has always faced the need for better performance in terms of speed and development time.

3. Server virtualization reduces the costs and provides more flexibility for users.

4. The Virtual Customs Office in itself is a great innovation.

Exercise 21.Translate into Russian.

1) Swedish Customs initiated the construction of the Virtual Customs Office.

2) Swedish traders use electronic processes in their foreign trade procedures.

3) The Virtual Customs Office provides uniquely designed E-Services.

4) Web-technology helps put the focus on the client.

5) Virtual Customs opens new business opportunities for clients.

Exercise 22.Read Text 5 and speak on different Customs officer jobs.

Before reading study the following words and word-combinations:

to range – выстраивать(-ся) в определенном порядке; быть в пределах;

relatively – относительно;

border entries (=entryways) – (въездные) пункты пропуска на границе;

trucks – груженые фуры; грузовики;

to ensure – обеспечивать; гарантировать;

to investigate parcels – исследовать, проверять посылки;

thoroughly inspected – тщательно проверенный;

a shipper – грузоотправитель;

(the) appropriate documents – соответствующие документы;

safety – безопасность;

unique – уникальный;

suspicious – подозрительный;

to handle high-pressure situations – справляться с напряженными ситуациями;

prohibited items – запрещенные товары;

taxable – подлежащий обложению налогом;

to deal with a variety of personalities – контактировать, справляться с разными типами характера людей;

extensive cargo issues – выпуск (прохождение через таможню) растущего количества грузов.


Text 5*

Customs Officer Jobs

There are various Customs officer jobs available ranging from border control to commercial Customs inspectors. While each position requires Customs officers to perform specific tasks, all Customs officer jobs are relatively similar.

Customs officers can be situated at border entries, railway stations, airports, seaports, and many other entryways. Essentially, there are three main types of Customs officer jobs including commercial inspectors, traveller inspectors and postal inspectors.

Commercial inspectors are responsible for inspecting all cargo that enters or leaves the country. These Customs professionals must board boats, airplanes, and trucks in order to inspect cargo arriving from other countries.

In addition, a commercial inspector must also inspect any cargo that is leaving the country. These inspectors are also expected to inspect cargo documents in order to ensure that all laws have been met.

Postal inspectors are similar to commercial inspectors, only postal inspectors investigate parcels. All packages must be thoroughly inspected before leaving or arriving in the country. Postal inspectors must also make sure that any shipper or receiver has filled out the appropriate documents.

Traveller inspectors are different from postal and commercial inspectors. A traveller inspector’s duty is to speak with any traveller who attempts to enter or exit the country. These inspectors are often seen in airports, train stations, and seaports. Traveller inspectors are responsible for ensuring the safety of the country by refusing entry to anyone who seems suspicious.

Even though all Customs officer jobs are unique, many countries seek Customs officers who can speak a foreign language. Since Customs officers must communicate with people from all over the world, those officers who can speak a second or third language often secure top position. Additionally, any Сustoms officer should be able to handle high-pressure situations calmly and rationally.

Most of the Customs officer’s work involves processing various paperwork for immigration documents. They are also heavily involved in the inspection of cargo or baggage for prohibited items, as well as collecting funds for taxable imported goods. Most of the general public will see Customs officers when travelling between international destinations.

A Customs officer is a position that requires the ability to deal with many different types of people. Those who are at airports and borders will have to deal with a variety of personalities. Those who are at seaports will deal with fewer people, but will have more extensive cargo issues to pay attention to. This could include detailed examinations of large containers.

Exercise 23.Complete the sentences using the information from Text 5.


1. Commercial inspectors are ___________.

2. Postal inspectors are ________________.

3. Traveller inspectors are ______________.

4. All Customs officer jobs are ___________.

5. Customs officers must communicate__________.

6. Sometimes an officer has to be able to handle ___________.

7. They are also heavily involved in the ______________.

8. The position of a Customs officer requires _____________.

Text 6

Exercise 24.Fill in the gaps using the words from the box.


functions; Rescue System; aspects; centres; wine-making; brand; counterfeiting; strict; in accordance; bio-fuel; role; revenue


The importance of the role of the Customs Service has recently increased.

Customs administrations of different countries are responsible for extra (1) _________ that are not specific for the Customs Service.

In Czech Republic the Customs administration has been included in the Integrated (2)________ of the country as a unit cooperating with other security corps in emergencies and crises.

French General Secretariat of Customs duties and indirect taxes contributes to certain public-service missions at sea. This activity covers three (3) __________:

1) policing of navigation and fishing,

2) sea rescue,

3) pollution control.

The French Customs Service fulfils one more unusual function. Customs administration has set up 60 (4) ________ of wine growing control. There are several reasons for Customs to be responsible for this peculiar activity. The (5) __________ products are one of the main export items determining the position of France in international trade. French wine is a world-famous (6) ________ which needs to be protected from (7) __________.

The Saudi Arabian Department of Customs implements a (8) ________ import control of goods restricted and prohibited (9) _________ with the Islamic rules and moral issues.

For the Swedish Customs this has meant a cumbersome and expensive handling of the seized alcohol.

While Swedish Customs provides ecological well-being for their citizens participating in production of (10) __________.

HM Revenue & Customs plays a highly responsible (11) _______ in society by collecting majority of tax (12) ________ as well as paying tax credits and child benefit. English Customs administration established special programme “Child Benefit and Child Trust Fund”.

Customs Service is a unique authority because:

1. The structure and functions of Customs reflect specific character of the country: its economics and politics features, both administrative and territorial structure and geographic particulars;

2. Customs administration fulfils a wide range of different tasks;

3. Customs bodies can be involved in performing “extra functions” as they consist of well-trained and highly-qualified staff which have to face sophisticated objectives on the border-line of Law, Economics and Science.

Exercise 25.Translate into Russian.

“Customs Areas” means the areas where the Customs exercise their activities as well as areas where the Customs exercise direct and indirect control or supervision of the relevant affairs.


Talking Points

Exercise 26.State the arguments for these statements:

1. Customs cannot afford to ignore the changing world conditions which have a major impact on their work.

2. Customs officers face increased workload in their work.

3. Customs have to enforce special controls of passengers and their baggage.

Exercise 27.Make up a list of key problems which the Customs Service faces.

Exercise 28.In small groups, discuss the spheres and problems the Customs Service deals with.


Focus on Grammar


Exercise 29. Choose the correct tense forms of the verbs in brackets.

1. He (live) in Great Britain.

2. I dropped my key when I (try) to open the door.

3. It (take) me an hour to correct mistakes tomorrow.

4. There (be) much baggage on the trolley.

5. They (wait) for their luggage at the moment.

6. There (be) shortage of cash in the bank.

7. We (discuss) your plan tomorrow at 10 o’ clock.

8. Listen to those people! What language they (speak)?

9. We (arrive) at the airport an hour ago.

10. He (talk) to her when I (see) him.

11. There (be) much caviar in his baggage.

12. She (fly) to New York once a month.

13. Ann (not drink) tea very often.

Exercise 30. Open the brackets using Past Simple or Past Continuous.

1. Who was that man you (talk) to when I came in?

2. She was so tired that she (sleep) for twelve hours.

3. I (wait) in the queue when the robber came in.

4. I (have) a bath when she phoned.

5. They (knock) on the door, and then they went in.

6. The police (ask) them lots of questions before they released them.

7. We (have) tea when they arrived.

8. What you (do) when the alarm sounded?

9. The factory (make) six thousand cars last year.

10. She (not say) anything to my parents.

11. James (walk) through the forest when the storm started.

Exercise 31. Complete these sentences with some/any/someone /anyone /somebody/anybody /something /anything/somewhere/anywhere.

1. The smuggler refused to tell us _______.

2. Can I have _____ milk in my coffee, please?

3. You can cash these travellers’ cheques at _______ bank.

4. He left the house without saying ________ to ________.

5. Would you like _______ more coffee?

6. The film is really great. You can ask ________who has seen it.

7. This is a ‘No Parking’ area. ________who parks their car here will have to pay a fine.

8. Can you give me ________information about places to see in the town?

9. With this special tourist bus ticket you can go _______you like on _______ bus you like.

10. The bus was completely empty. There wasn’t ________ on it.

11. The four of us wanted to go to a restaurant but we couldn’t because _______of us _______ had ________money.

12. Are there ______ Customs forms on the table?

Exercise 32.Put the questions to the words in italics.

1. They usually spend their holidays in the Crimea.

2. Her friend lives in London.

3. There are a lot of declarations on the table.

4. His brother finishes his work at 7 o’clock.

5. I often stay at home on Sunday.


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