French customs official
26 February 2019

Customs: outstanding results in 2018

On 25 February 2019, during a visit to the office for postal customs clearance in Chilly-Mazarin, Gérald Darmanin, Minister of Public Action and Accounts, presented the Customs results for 2018.
The Minister applauded the outstanding results produced by the 17,000 customs officers in their numerous missions to combat fraud and support international trade. In particular, he expressed his great satisfaction with the results achieved in countering tobacco smuggling, which he had made a priority for the Customs Service in 2018, but also in other areas of fraud prevention:
  • 16,171 offences relating to tobacco were reported (+15.1%) and 241.1 tonnes of tobacco seized (+1.2%).
  • 97.4 tonnes of narcotics were seized on national soil and at sea (+47.3%) including 12.2 tonnes of cocaine (+32.6%) and 63.9 tonnes of cannabis (+38.6%).
  • In addition, 49.1 tonnes of drugs were seized abroad based on intelligence from French Customs (+45.3%), including 16.1 tonnes of cocaine (+6.5%) and 33 tonnes of cannabis (+77.4%).
  • 1,363 firearms were seized (+42.3%).
Gérald Darmanin also underlined the quality of work carried out by the Customs Service, which fulfils its role in protecting national soil, as well as its tax functions, while providing support and advice to companies engaged in import/export operations:
  • the average time during which goods are immobilised is now 2 min 32 sec, compared with 13 min in 2004.
  • 1,673 companies with Authorised Economic Operator certification (+5.6%, ranked second in Europe).
  • 2,412 companies were advised free of charge.
  • An 85% satisfaction rate among users of the Customs Service.
The Customs Service has thus allowed France to maintain first place in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index in the "Trading across Borders" category. Lastly, French Customs collected €84 billion in duties and taxes in 2018 (+5.7%), with a continuously falling cost of collection, amounting to 39 cents for every €100 collected.
"In 2018, I asked customs officers to give priority to combating illicit tobacco. We owe this commitment to the health of French people as well as to the tobacconists who make up the only legal tobacco distribution network in France. This year’s results in this area are very encouraging, with a sharp increase in seizures and fines for the trafficking of small amounts.
Furthermore, at the request of the Prime Minister, I have led French Customs’ preparation work for all Brexit scenarios, which has resulted in increased human and technical resources being made available to international trade operators. I would like to commend the commitment shown by all customs officers over the course of 2018. I know that I can count on them fully to meet the challenges of 2019."
Gérald Darmanin