The customs value of imported goods is determined mainly for the purposes of applying ad valorem rates of customs duties. It constitutes the taxable basis for customs duties. It is also an essential element for compiling trade statistics, monitoring quantitative restrictions, applying tariff preferences, and collecting national taxes.
Today, almost all customs administrations of the current 153 WTO Members value imported goods in terms of the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Customs Valuation (adopted in 1994). This Agreement establishes a customs valuation system that primarily bases the customs value on the transaction value of imported goods, which is the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the country of importation, plus, certain adjustments of costs and charges. Currently more than 90% of world trade is valued on the basis of the transaction value method which provides more predictability, uniformity and transparency for the business community. (Source: WCO)