With Malta's membership of the EU, Maltese customs has immense responsibilities for the protection of the external border of the EU. Membership involves the abolition of routine controls at the internal borders of the EU, but this did not diminish the increasing threats to society resulting from activities of cross-border organised crime which threaten the security of the Union's citizens.
Finished the period of useless barriers to trade, today Maltese Customs, like all modern Customs administrations, goes on to perform its role by adapting to the needs for a smoother flow of trade to the commercial and economic policy at the European Community and national level, in a constant effort to keep an open mind on what is new and different while protecting the interests and cultural identities particularly of Maltese and other EU citizens.
The EU customs policy is an important tool to encourage and support trade and fairness of transactions by developing industries within the Union in order to increase employment and competitiveness of business. Maltese customs coherently implements this policy on behalf of Malta and in close cooperation with EU bodies. We are aware that we must work every day to assure high quality standards comparable to those of other member states within the European Union; this is a prerequisite to reach common goals.
Furthermore, the Department of Customs carries out on behalf of the Maltese community and consumers, important and sensitive tasks through the collection of duties and taxes including excise duties on production and consumption. Above all, as national and international representative of Maltese and Community needs, we contribute towards the improvement in the quality and competitiveness of Maltese and Community systems.
Our mission is to improve relations with customers, to assure a high quality and quantity standard of service, to simplify procedures, to focus controls and verifications only on high risk situations, disseminate clear and consistent information to maximise compliance with fiscal obligations and to encourage the responsible involvement of customers in customs operations.
We work with courtesy and professionalism, with seriousness and disposition to dialogue in order to build and strengthen the image of an organisation which is at the service of the modern needs of Maltese and EU traders.
Next to the traditional tasks which are historically well-grounded in all customs institutions, other very important tasks have been included in recent times. Besides the cooperation with other local authorities such as the police, we are in the front line in the fight against smuggling, new and old illicit traffic of weapons, drugs, cigarettes, money laundering, counterfeit of goods, endangered protected species and works of art. We are always to the front line in the fight against the traffic of radioactive materials, hazardous waste, illegal or expired drugs, and goods which cause harm to health and environment.
When performing all our tasks, we place great emphasis on the ethical code and on obedience to the principles of legality, transparency, and fairness of the administrative action, aware of their importance and sensitivity. We are always present at ports and seaports to provide support and expertise to Maltese and foreign traders with courtesy and to deal with the rapid and constant flow of trade within the world's widest and biggest single market made up of about 450 million consumers.