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In logistics, knowledge of customs and customs duties is very important.

With import and export, customs duties are imposed according to the regulations of each country, but in fact, the goods are not taxed immediately upon arrival.

Did you know that there is a place where there is no tax for a certain period of time? They are called customs area or free trade zones.

Let’s take a look at customs area and bonded transport, in order to carry the cargo smoothly and to facilitate trading.

What is “bonded”?

“Bonded” means the postponement of taxation of imported goods for a certain period of time until an import permit is obtained. In principle, the cargo will be placed in a customs area.

The term “bonded” originally used for imported goods. However, exported goods may also be brought into the customs area for clearance.

Therefore, customs area will be involved in both import and export.

In some countries, free trade zones are established in addition to customs area. Free trade zones are generally designated to be wider than customs area, and these areas have been established in developing countries and border areas to promote trading.

Japan’s customs area

There are five main types of customs area in Japan. It is used properly depending on the type of cargo, the place and the purpose of work.

Designated bonded area requires the approval of the minister of finance, and others are approved as customs area by the permission of the director of customs.

Let’s look at Japan’s customs area and related facilities.

Designated bonded area

The area designated by the minister of finance as a place where foreign cargo can be loaded and unloaded, transported, and temporarily stored (within 1 month from the time of delivery).

Customs warehouse

It refers to the place designated by the Director of customs as a place where foreign cargo can be loaded and unloaded, transported and stored (within 3 months from the time of delivery).

In addition, it is possible to store foreign goods for up to two years from the date of approval by the approval of the director of customs.

Distribution centers, refrigerated and frozen warehouses, and silos that store grain may receive this permission.

Customs manufacturing warehouse

As a place where bonded work can be done, it refers to a place authorized by the director of customs.

By approval of the director of customs, foreign goods can be stored for two years from the date of approval. Bonded work must be done after receiving transfer approval.

In fact, steel mills, refineries, food factories, etc. manufacture products under this permission.

Bonded factories in Japan tend to shrink due to a decrease in the amount of processing trade, but there are such bonded factories outside Japan, and they are used in various ways.

○ By the way, bonded work is limited to fixed work such as manufacturing (including mixing) made from foreign cargo, inspection of contents, refurbishing (changing packaging), sorting, care of goods, etc. .

Customs Display Area

As a place that can be used as exhibitions hall for foreign cargo, a place authorized by the director of customs is called customs display area.

International exhibition, such as luxury car motor shows, are often held with this permission, and can be said to be a representative example of customs display areas.

In addition, museums may receive this designation, in which case paintings etc. can be exhibit to the public with a bond.

Comprehensive customs area

It refers to a place that has all the functions of a customs warehouse, a customs manufacturing warehouse, and a customs display area.

With the approval of the director of customs, foreign goods within two years from the date of approval can be stored.

Locations near ports and airports are actually licensed as a comprehensive customs area.

Bonded transportation

Transporting foreign goods in a bonded state from one customs area to another in a country is called bonded transportation.

This also requires the permission of the director of customs, and the shipping period is also determined by the director of customs.

In addition, if the cargo does not arrive at the destination within the specified shipping period, the duty will be imposed immediately.

In this case, the taxpayer is not the importer, but the sea forwarder that has received an in-bond approval.

Overseas customs area

Customs areas are defined overseas as well as Japan. Types and designations vary depending on the country, but they share the same goals, such as promoting import and export and improving the convenience of procedures.

For example, in Thailand, there are the following types of customs area (customs warehouse).

・ General purpose customs warehouse
・ Customs warehouse for manufactured goods
・ Customs warehouse for ship repair and construction
・ Customs warehouse for oil storage
・ Duty free store type customs warehouse
・ Customs warehouse for free trade area
・ Customs warehouse for duty free goods storage

In addition, in order to carry out stock ownership and freight management in such customs warehouse in Thailand, it is necessary to establish a corporation in Thailand as exporter or importer.

Therefore, in reality, when a foreign company uses customs warehouse in Thailand, it will be entrusted to forwarder that has a corporate registration on site.


This time, we have been looking at customs area. Customs area is place where you always have the opportunity to use when importing or exporting.

Also, looking at the actual customs area, it is also interesting to see the state of trade in Japan and other countries.

It is hopeful to use this knowledge to carry out transactions actively and smoothly.