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Publication and Availability of Information

  1. 1.1 Publication
  2. 1.2 Information Available Through Internet
  3. 1.3 Enquiry Points
  4. 1.4 Notification

Publication

What activity does this proposal regulate?

The types of information that governments publish, and the manner of publication

Which authorities are directly concerned?

•          Executive Authority

•          All border agencies

•          Trade Authority

•          Revenue Authority

•          Agency responsible for information management

What are the new requirements?

•          Members shall publish the general trade-related information listed in the proposal

•          Members shall publish such information "promptly" and in a "non-discriminatory and easily accessible manner" that will allow other governments, traders and interested persons to become acquainted with them.

1.1       Each Member shall promptly publish the following information in a non-discriminatory and easily accessible manner in order to enable governments, traders, and other interested parties to become acquainted with them:

(a)        procedures for importation, exportation, and transit (including port, airport, and other entry-point procedures), and required forms and documents;

(b)        applied rates of duties and taxes of any kind imposed on or in connection with importation or exportation;

(c)        fees and charges imposed by or for governmental agencies on or in connection with importation, exportation or transit;

(d)        rules for the classification or valuation of products for customs purposes;

(e)        laws, regulations, and administrative rulings of general application relating to rules of origin;

(f)         import, export or transit restrictions or prohibitions;

(g)        penalty provisions for breaches of import, export, or transit formalities;

(h)        procedures for appeal or review;

(i)         agreements or parts thereof with any country or countries relating to importation, exportation, or transit; and

(j)         procedures relating to the administration of tariff quotas.

1.2       Nothing in these provisions shall be construed as requiring the publication or provision of information other than in the language of the Member except as stated in paragraph 2.2.

Information Available Through Internet

What activity does this measure regulate?

The information a government provides to the public regarding import, export and transit procedures, and the manner by which it is provided

Which authorities are directly concerned?

•          Executive Authority

•          All border agencies

•          Trade Authority

•          Agency responsible for information management, including government websites

What are the new requirements?

•          Members shall prepare practical guides to their import, export, and transit procedures including appeal procedures

•          Members shall publish on the internet:

(i)  the practical guides,

(ii)  the forms and documents required for import, export or transit,

(iii) relevant trade laws (where possible), and

(iv) the enquiry point contact information.

2.1       Each Member shall make available, and update to the extent possible and as appropriate, the following through the internet:

(a)        description [1] of its procedures for  importation, exportation, and transit, including procedures for appeal or review, that informs governments, traders, and other interested parties of the practical steps needed for importation, exportation, and transit;

(b)        the forms and documents required for importation into, exportation from, or transit   through the territory of that Member;

(c)        contact information on enquiry point(s).

2.2       Whenever practicable, the description referred to in subparagraph 2.1 a. shall also be made available in one of the official languages of the WTO.

2.3       Members are encouraged to make available further trade related information through the internet, including relevant trade-related legislation and other items referred to in paragraph 1.1


[1] Each Member has the discretion to state on its website the legal limitations of this description.

Enquiry Points

What activity does this measure regulate?

The means by which an individual trader, a government, or any other interested person can obtain specific information from a Member about import, export or transit requirements.

Which authorities are directly concerned?

•          Executive authority

•          All border agencies

•          Trade Authority

What are the new requirements?

•          A Member shall establish one or more "enquiry points" to respond to "reasonable" questions about the matters listed in Article 1.1, and to requests for required forms and documents.

•          If a member of a customs union or involved in regional integration, a Member may opt to participate in a regional enquiry point, rather than establishing a national enquiry point.

•          The Member shall respond to such enquires and requests within a "reasonable" time.

•          Members are encouraged not to charge fees for answering basic enquiries.  Any fees charged for enquiries or for providing forms or documents shall be limited to the approximate cost incurred.

3.1       Each Member shall, within its available resources, establish or maintain one or more enquiry points to answer reasonable enquiries of governments, traders and other interested parties on matters covered by paragraph 1.1 as well as to provide the required forms and documents referred to in subparagraph 1.1 (a).

3.2       Members of a customs union or involved in regional integration may establish or maintain common enquiry points at the regional level to satisfy the requirement of paragraph 3.1 for common procedures.

3.3       Members are encouraged not to require the payment of a fee for answering enquiries and providing required forms and documents. If any, Members shall limit the amount of its fees and charges to the approximate cost of services rendered.

3.4       The enquiry points shall answer enquiries and provide the forms and documents within a reasonable time period set by each Member, which may vary depending on the nature or complexity of the request.

Notification

What activity does this measure regulate?

Communications to/from the WTO Committee on Trade Facilitation

Which authorities are directly concerned?

•          The government authority responsible for WTO notifications (e.g., the trade authority or foreign affairs ministry)

What are the new requirements?

•          A Member shall provide the Committee with the names of the official publications and the address(es) of the website(s) where the information required by Article 1.1 and 1.2 has been published

•          A Member shall provide the Committee with the contact details of its enquiry point(s)

Each Member shall notify the Committee on Trade Facilitation established under paragraph 1.1 of Article 23 (referred to in this Agreement as the "Committee") of:

(a)        the official place(s) where the items in subparagraphs 1.1(a) to (j) have been published;

(b)        the Uniform Resource Locators of website(s) referred to in paragraph 2.1; and

(c)        the contact information of the enquiry points referred to in paragraph 3.1.