Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Senator Moses Raised Concerns about Parcel Inspection

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): November 7, 1997 - President Jacob Nena, on October 27, 1997, responded to Resio S. Moses for his concerns regarding customs inspection of parcels mailed to FSM from abroad.

Moses is the Pohnpei's At-Large Senator to FSM Congress who wrote about his concerns to President Nena in an October 13, 1997 letter.

Nena stated that he also heard complaints regarding Customs Inspectors opening parcels similar to that which Moses stated and has already taken steps to find solutions.

Nena said that Customs Inspectors will be working closely with FSM Postal Services to require foreign senders, through their own postal services, to attach to the outside of each parcel a declaration of its contents and value.

Custom inspectors can then rely on such declarations to determine the correct duty to be charged, Nena said, adding that spot checks would still be required, but additional time can be afforded to conduct necessary inspections in the presence of the recipient.

Nena said that incoming mail that lacks a declaration of contents and value will still pose the problem of determining taxability and the correct amount of tax to be charged.

Nena also said the government plans to move toward a procedure which will allow recipient of a parcel to be at hand when a parcel he is receiving is inspected by Custom Inspectors. To accomplish this, two Custom Inspectors will be full time at Pohnpei Post Office where most of the problems occurred, and additional Custom Inspectors will be added to the Post Offices in other states later.

Nena said the Custom Inspectors have been reminded that existing regulations, mail arriving by air must be inspected within two business days, and mail arriving by surface must be inspected within five business days, after arrival in the FSM.

Nena said the new Customs Act which imposes the new tax and inspection requirements has just been in effect shortly and coincidentally an exceptionally large delivery of mail parcels which slowed processing at Pohnpei Post Office. This he said he expected to be resolved with smooth handling in the future.

Nena said he agrees with Moses that the most disturbing rumor is about stolen items from inspected parcels but he added that no formal complaint of missing items has ever been filed and it makes it difficult or impossible to investigate mere rumors.

Nena added that he suspects that the rumors have been exaggerated. Nevertheless, the existing policy calls for the presence of two inspectors when parcels are opened for inspection to prevent theft.

Nena said that a system is being developed which will allow the recipient of parcels to be present as much time as possible when parcel inspection is conducted.

Nena concluded by thanking Moses for his concerns and reiterated that he trusts that as in passing of time and fine tuning of the inspection procedures more efficient system will evolve.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356