L'accord et ses ressources

Les négociants des pays en développement et développés montrent depuis longtemps du doigt les nombreuses tracasseries administratives qu'ils continuent de subir lors de l'expédition de marchandises au-delà des frontières, et qui représentent une charge particulièrement lourde pour les petites et moyennes entreprises. Pour remédier à cela, les Membres de l'OMC ont conclu les négociations sur un accord historique, l'Accord sur la facilitation des échanges (AFE) à la Conférence ministérielle de Bali, en 2013, et sont désormais en train d'adopter les mesures nécessaires pour faire entrer l'Accord en vigueur.

L'AFE contient des dispositions visant à accélérer le mouvement, la mainlevée et le dédouanement des marchandises, y compris les marchandises en transit. Il prévoit aussi des mesures permettant d'assurer une coopération effective entre les douanes et les autres autorités compétentes pour les questions de facilitation des échanges et de respect des procédures douanières. Il comporte par ailleurs des dispositions relatives à l'assistance technique et au renforcement des capacités dans ce domaine. L'Accord contribuera à améliorer la transparence, à renforcer les possibilités de participer aux chaînes de valeur mondiale, et à limiter les possibilités de corruption.

L'AFE a été le premier accord conclu dans le cadre de l'OMC par l'ensemble des Membres.

Ressources des articles de L'AFE

Section I contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It clarifies and improves the relevant articles (V, VIII and X) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994. It also sets out provisions for customs cooperation. 

Article resources for each provision can be found below (click arrows to open)

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Publication and Availability of Information Icon
Article 1

Publication and Availability of Information

1.1 Publication

Quick Summary Notes

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.
Legal Text

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.

1.2 Information available through internet

Quick Summary Notes

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.

Legal Text

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.

1.3 Enquiry Points

Quick Summary Notes

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.

Legal Text

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.

1.4 Notification

Article Resources

GENERAL GUIDELINES

WCO - RKC General Annex Guidelines - Chapter 9 (Information, Decisions and Rulings Supplied by Customs) Standard(s) 9.1, 9.2, 9.3

WCO - Recommendation (1999) on the Use of World Wide Web sites by Customs administrations

 

CASE STUDIES AND COUNTRY SPECIFIC INITIATIVES

No case studies at this time. To suggest or submit a case study, please contact us

Quick Summary Notes

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)

Legal Text

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.

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Opportunity to comment icon
Article 2

Opportunity to comment, information before entry into force and consultations.

2.1 Opportunity to comment and information before entry into force

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

The process by which national trade legislation is made. This includes the process for enacting laws on trade-related matters by the national legislative body (congress, parliament, legislature, etc.) as well as secondary legal acts (regulations, rules, orders, etc.) issued by executive or administrative bodies.

Which authorities are directly concerned?

  • All border agencies
  • Trade Authority
  • Executive Authority
  • Legislative Authority

What are the new requirements?

  • Traders and other interested parties must be given an opportunity and reasonable time to comment on proposals for new trade-related and customs laws and administrative regulations, as well as any amendments thereto.
  • New or amended laws and regulations must be made publicly available, as early as possible before their entry into force.
Legal Text

1.1  Each Member shall, to the extent practicable and in a manner consistent with its domestic law and legal system, provide opportunities and an appropriate time period to traders and other interested parties to comment on the proposed introduction or amendment of laws and regulations of general application related to the movement, release, and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.

1.2  Each Member shall, to the extent practicable and in a manner consistent with its domestic law and legal system, ensure that new or amended laws and regulations of general application related to the movement, release, and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, are published or information on them made otherwise publicly available, as early as possible before their entry into force, in order to enable traders and other interested parties to become acquainted with them.

1.3  Changes to duty rates or tariff rates, measures that have a relieving effect, measures the effectiveness of which would be undermined as a result of compliance with paragraphs 1.1 or 1.2, measures applied in urgent circumstances, or minor changes to domestic law and legal system are each excluded from paragraphs 1.1 and 1.2.

2.2 Consultations

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

The process by which border agencies obtain the views of traders and other stakeholders on matters affecting them

Which authorities are directly concerned?

  • All border agencies

What are the new requirements?

Border agencies must hold "regular consultations" with traders and stakeholders.

Legal Text

Each Member shall, as appropriate, provide for regular consultations between its border agencies and traders or other stakeholders located within its territory.

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Advance Rulings Icon
Article 3

Advance Rulings

3 Advance Rulings

Article Resources

GENERAL GUIDELINES

UNCTAD - Technical Note: Advance rulings (TN/TF/22)

UNECE - Advance Rulings

WCO - RKC General Annex Guidelines - Chapter 9 (Information, Decisions and Rulings Supplied by Customs) Standard(s) 9.9

WCO - Technical Guidelines on Advance Rulings for Classification, Origin, and Valuation 2018

WCO - Advance Rulings

WCO - Diagnostic Tool on Tariff Classification, Valuation and Origin Work and Related Infrastructure / Guidelines on Customs Infrastructure for Tariff Classification, Valuation and Origin (The Diagnostic Tool and the Guidelines are only available on the WCO Members' Website

WCO - Practical Guidelines for Valuation Control (This tool is only available on the WCO Members’ Website)

 

CASE STUDIES AND COUNTRY SPECIFIC INITIATIVES

Australia - Australia's Experience with Advance Rulings (2019)

Australia - Trade Facilitation Best Practices in Use of Advance Rulings  

Australia - Advance Rulings- Australian Border Force (2012)

Canada - Advance Rulings for Tariff Classification (2019)

Chile - Advance Ruling

China - The Regulations Governing the Implementation of Advance Tariff Classification Ruling on Imported Goods (2015)

France - The Binding Origin Information (BOI)

Japan - Advance Ruling on Origin (The WCO Origin Conference 2014)

Liberia - Implementing Advance Tariff Rulings

Philippines - Advance rulings from the Bureau of Customs and the Tariff Commission (2017)

Singapore - Statement on Advance Rulings (2018)

Singapore - Application for Customs Ruling on Classification of Goods (2019)

Trinidad and Tobago - Advance rulings (PPT)

Trinidad and Tobago - Advance rulings  

USA - G/TFA/W/7 The Role of Advance Rulings and Administrative Procedures in TFA Implementation (US Communication) (2018)

USA - Best Practices in Use of Advance Rulings 

USA - USAID Advance Ruling Guide

USA - What Every Member of the Trade Community Should Know AboutU.S. Customs & Border Protection Rulings Program (2009)

 

OTHER

NAFTA - Advance Ruling Procedures (NAFTA)

World Customs Journal Comparison of advance ruling systems for tariff classification in the European Union, China and Chinese Taipei

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

The means by which a trader can obtain reliable "binding" information about the tariff classification, origin, or other customs treatment of his goods before he imports them

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What are the new requirements?

  • Customs shall provide a written ruling on request of a trader concerning the tariff classification or origin of his goods (or any other matters described in paragraph 9(b) prior to their importation)
  • The ruling shall be binding on Customs and remain valid for a reasonable period of time
  • A trader shall have rights to be notified if Customs takes certain actions adverse to his interests (such as a refusal to issue a ruling or a decision to revoke or modify a ruling)
  • Customs must publish certain information about the ruling process
Legal Text

1.  Each Member shall issue an advance ruling in a reasonable, time-bound manner to the applicant that has submitted a written request containing all necessary information. If a Member declines to issue an advance ruling, it shall promptly notify the applicant in writing, setting out the relevant facts and the basis for its decision.

2.  A Member may decline to issue an advance ruling to the applicant where the question raised in the application:

(a)  is already pending in the applicant's case before any governmental agency, appellate tribunal, or court; or

(b)  has already been decided by any appellate tribunal or court.

3.  The advance ruling shall be valid for a reasonable period of time after its issuance unless the law, facts, or circumstances supporting that ruling have changed.

4.  Where the Member revokes, modifies, or invalidates the advance ruling, it shall provide written notice to the applicant setting out the relevant facts and the basis for its decision. Where a Member revokes, modifies, or invalidates advance rulings with retroactive effect, it may only do so where the ruling was based on incomplete, incorrect, false, or misleading information.

5.  An advance ruling issued by a Member shall be binding on that Member in respect of the applicant that sought it. The Member may provide that the advance ruling is binding on the applicant.

6.  Each Member shall publish, at a minimum:

(a)  the requirements for the application for an advance ruling, including the information to be provided and the format;

(b)  the time period by which it will issue an advance ruling; and

(c)  the length of time for which the advance ruling is valid.

7.   Each Member shall provide, upon written request of an applicant, a review of the advance ruling or the decision to revoke, modify, or invalidate the advance ruling.[1]

8.   Each Member shall endeavour to make publicly available any information on advance rulings which it considers to be of significant interest to other interested parties, taking into account the need to protect commercially confidential information.

9.   Definitions and scope:

(a)   An advance ruling is a written decision provided by a Member to the applicant prior to the importation of a good covered by the application that sets forth the treatment that the Member shall provide to the good at the time of importation with regard to:

                        (i)   the good's tariff classification; and

                        (ii)   the origin of the good.[2]

(b)   In addition to the advance rulings defined in subparagraph (a), Members are encouraged to provide advance rulings on:

                        (i)   the appropriate method or criteria, and the application thereof, to be used or determining the customs value under a particular set of facts;

                        (ii)  the applicability of the Member's requirements for relief or exemption from customs duties;

                        (iii)   the application of the Member's requirements for quotas, including   tariff quotas; and

                        (iv)    any additional matters for which a Member considers it appropriate to issue an advance ruling.

(c)        An applicant is an exporter, importer or any person with a justifiable cause or a representative thereof.

(d)        A Member may require that the applicant have legal representation or registration in its territory. To the extent possible, such requirements shall not restrict the categories of persons eligible to apply for advance rulings, with particular consideration for the specific needs of small and medium-sized enterprises. These requirements shall be clear and transparent and not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination.

 


[1] Under this paragraph: (a) a review may, either before or after the ruling has been acted upon, be provided by the official, office, or authority that issued the ruling, a higher or independent administrative authority, or a judicial authority; and (b) a Member is not required to provide the applicant with recourse to paragraph 1 of Article 4.

[2] It is understood that an advance ruling on the origin of a good may be an assessment of origin for the purposes of the Agreement on Rules of Origin where the ruling meets the requirements of this Agreement and the Agreement on Rules of Origin. Likewise, an assessment of origin under the Agreement on Rules of Origin may be an advance ruling on the origin of a good for the purposes of this Agreement where the ruling meets the requirements of both agreements. Members are not required to establish separate arrangements under this provision in addition to those established pursuant to the Agreement on Rules of Origin in relation to the assessment of origin provided that the requirements of this Article are fulfilled.

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Procedures for appeal or review icon
Article 4

Procedures for appeal or review

4 Procedures for appeal or review

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

The rights of traders to obtain review and correction of decisions made by Customs officials or officials of other border agencies

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Other border agencies (encouraged to)

What are the new requirements?

Members shall provide traders with the right to appeal decisions made by Customs in an administrative and/or judicial proceeding.

Legal Text

1.         Each Member shall provide that any person to whom customs issues an administrative decision[1] has the right, within its territory, to:

(a)        an administrative appeal to or review by an administrative authority higher than or independent of the official or office that issued the decision;

            and/or

(b)        a judicial appeal or review of the decision.

2.         The legislation of a Member may require that an administrative appeal or review be initiated prior to a judicial appeal or review.

3.         Each Member shall ensure that its procedures for appeal or review are carried out in a non-discriminatory manner.

4.         Each Member shall ensure that, in a case where the decision on appeal or review under subparagraph 1(a) is not given either:

(a)        within set periods as specified in its laws or regulations; or

(b)        without undue delay

the petitioner has the right to either further appeal to or further review by the administrative authority or the judicial authority or any other recourse to the judicial authority.[2]

5.         Each Member shall ensure that the person referred to in paragraph 1 is provided with the reasons for the administrative decision so as to enable such a person to have recourse to procedures for appeal or review where necessary.

6.         Each Member is encouraged to make the provisions of this Article

 


[1] An administrative decision in this Article means a decision with a legal effect that affects the rights and obligations of a specific person in an individual case. It shall be understood that an administrative decision in this Article covers an administrative action within the meaning of Article X of the GATT 1994 or failure to take an administrative action or decision as provided for in a Member's domestic law and legal system. For addressing such failure, Members may maintain an alternative administrative mechanism or judicial recourse to direct the customs authority to promptly issue an administrative decision in place of the right to appeal or review under subparagraph 1(a).

[2] Nothing in this paragraph shall prevent a Member from recognizing administrative silence on appeal or review as a decision in favor of the petitioner in accordance with its laws and regulations.

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Other measures to enhance impartiality, non-discrimination and transparency icon
Article 5

Other measures to enhance impartiality, non-discrimination and transparency

5.1 Notifications for enhanced controls or inspections

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Disciplines on any system of issuing notifications or guidance to concerned authorities to enhance controls and inspections on imported goods, particularly food products, beverages and feedstuffs

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • All border agencies

What are the new requirements?

  • For countries that have such a system, the conditions under which notifications or guidance may be made and maintained on the system, and the actions taken as a consequence of the notification or guidance, shall be subject to certain disciplines
Legal Text

Where a Member adopts or maintains a system of issuing notifications or guidance to its concerned authorities for enhancing the level of controls or inspections at the border in respect of foods, beverages or feedstuffs covered under the notification or guidance for protecting human, animal, or plant life or health within its territory, the following disciplines shall apply to the manner of their issuance, termination or suspension:

(a)        the Member may, as appropriate, issue the notification or guidance based on risk;

(b)        the Member may issue the notification or guidance so that it applies uniformly only to those points of entry where the sanitary and phytosanitary conditions on which the notification or guidance are based apply;

(c)        the Member shall promptly terminate or suspend the notification or guidance when circumstances giving rise to it no longer exist, or if changed circumstances can be addressed in a less trade-restrictive manner; and

(d)        when the Member decides to terminate or  suspend the notification or guidance, it shall, as appropriate, promptly publish the announcement of its termination or suspension in a non-discriminatory and easily accessible manner, or inform the exporting Member or the importer.

5.2 Detention

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

The "detention" of goods declared for importation by Customs or other border authority (e.g., health, safety, agriculture, etc.) for purposes of conducting an inspection

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Other Border Agencies

What are the new requirements?

  • If Customs or other border authority detains imported goods for inspection, it shall inform promptly the carrier, the importer or his agent (such as the customs broker, acting on the importer’s behalf).
Legal Text

A Member shall promptly inform the carrier or importer in case of detention of goods declared for importation, for inspection by customs or any other competent authority.

5.3 Test Procedures

Article Resources

GENERAL GUIDELINES

FAO - Inspection Guide 

FAO - General Guidelines on Sampling CAC/GL 50-2004

IPPC ISPM 31 Methodologies for sampling of consignments

IPPC ISPM 27  Diagnostic protocols for regulated pests

WCO - RKC General Annex Guidelines - Chapter 3 (Clearance and other Customs Formalities) Standard(s) 3.38

WCO - Customs Laboratory Guide (The tool is only available on the WCO Members’ Website)

 

CASE STUDIES AND COUNTRY SPECIFIC INITIATIVES

No case studies at this time. To suggest or submit a case study, please contact us

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Laboratory testing of goods for customs, food safety, agriculture or other regulatory purposes

What authorities are directly concerned?

Border agencies that sample and test goods, such as:

  • Customs
  • Other border agencies (particularly, SPS and standards authorities)

What are the new requirements?

  • Members may grant traders the right to a second test, where test results on a sample of goods taken upon arrival of goods declared for importation are adverse to the trader
  • Members shall publish the contact information of laboratories where confirmatory tests can be carried out or provide this information to the importer. (They  may be regional or international laboratories, if there are no national accredited laboratories)
  • Members shall consider the results of the second test.
Legal Text

3.1       A Member may, upon request, grant an opportunity for a second test in case the first test result of a sample taken upon arrival of goods declared for importation shows an adverse finding.

3.2       A Member shall either publish, in a non-discriminatory and easily accessible manner, the name and address of any laboratory where the test can be carried out or provide this information to the importer when it is granted the opportunity under paragraph 3.1.

3.3       A Member shall consider the result of the second test, if any, conducted under paragraph 3.1, for the release and clearance of goods and, if appropriate, may accept the results of such test.

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Article 6

Disciplines on fees and charges imposed on or in connection with importation and exportation and penalties

6.1 General Disciplines on Fees and Charges Imposed on or in Connection with Importation and Exportation

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

The "fees and charges" that governmental authorities assess on, or in connection with, imports or exports

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Other Border Agencies

What are the new requirements?

  • The amount and purposes of any fees or charges imposed on imports or exports must be consistent with the GATT Article VIII restrictions.
  • Members must
    • publish specified information about such fees and charges*
    • publish any new or amended fees or charges an "adequate time" prior to their entry into force**
    • periodically review their fees and charges in order to reduce the number and diversity "where practicable"

*You should consider the impact of this requirement in connection your review of Article 1.1 (Publication).

**You should consider the impact of this requirement in connection with your review of Article 2.1 (Opportunity to Comment and Information Before Entry into Force).

Legal Text

1.1.  The provisions of paragraph 1 shall apply to all fees and charges other than import and export duties and other than taxes within the purview of Article III of GATT 1994 imposed by Members on or in connection with the importation or exportation of goods.

1.2.  Information on fees and charges shall be published in accordance with Article 1. This information shall include the fees and charges that will be applied, the reason for such fees and charges, the responsible authority and when and how payment is to be made.

1.3.  An adequate time period shall be accorded between the publication of new or amended fees and charges and their entry into force, except in urgent circumstances. Such fees and charges shall not be applied until information on them has been published.

1.4.  Each Member shall periodically review its fees and charges with a view to reducing their number and diversity, where practicable.

6.2 Specific Disciplines on Fees and Charges for Customs Processing Imposed on or in Connection with Importation and Exportation

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

The "fees and charges" that customs authorities assess on, or in connection with, imports or exports for services provided to the importer or exporter

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What are the new requirements?

  • Customs fees and charges must be limited in amount to the approximate cost of the services rendered.
  • Fees not linked to a specific import or export operation must be closely connected to the customs processing of the goods.
Legal Text

Fees and charges for customs processing:

(i)         shall be limited in amount to the approximate cost of the services rendered on or in connection with the specific import or export operation in question; and

(ii)        are not required to be linked to a specific import or export operation provided they are levied for services that are closely connected to the customs processing of goods.

6.3 Penalty Disciplines

Article Resources

GENERAL GUIDELINES

WCO - RKC General Annex Guidelines - Chapter 3 (Clearance and other Customs Formalities) Standard(s) 3.39, 3.43

WCO - Guideline to RKC Specific Annex H – Chapter 1 (Guidelines on Customs Offences) Standard(s) 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

WCO – Voluntary Compliance Framework

 

CASE STUDIES AND COUNTRY SPECIFIC INITIATIVES

No case studies at this time. To suggest or submit a case study, please contact us

 

OTHER

WCO - Voluntary Disclosure Programmes of Member Countries (Singapore, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, USA) 

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

The assessment of civil or administrative penalties for violations of the customs laws

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What are the new requirements?

  • Members who apply civil or administrative customs penalties shall:
    • impose penalties only on the person(s) responsible for the violation
    • ensure that the amount of such penalties are proportionate to the degree and severity of the violation
    • avoid conflicts of interest
    • avoid creating an incentive for the assessment of a penalty that is not commensurate with the circumstances of the case
    • provide the person with a written explanation
    • consider a "prior disclosure" as a potential factor to mitigate the penalty amount.
Legal Text

3.1       For the purpose of paragraph 3, the term "penalties" shall mean those imposed by a Member's customs administration for a breach of the Member's customs laws, regulations, or procedural requirements.

3.2       Each Member shall ensure that penalties for a breach of a customs law, regulation, or procedural requirement are imposed only on the person(s) responsible for the breach under its laws.

3.3       The penalty imposed shall depend on the facts and circumstances of the case and shall be commensurate with the degree and severity of the breach.

3.4       Each Member shall ensure that it maintains measures to avoid:

(a)        conflicts of interest in the assessment and collection of penalties and duties; and

(b)        creating an incentive for the assessment or collection of a penalty that is inconsistent with paragraph 3.3.

3.5       Each Member shall ensure that when a penalty is imposed for a breach of customs laws, regulations, or procedural requirements, an explanation in writing is provided to the person(s) upon whom the penalty is imposed specifying the nature of the breach and the applicable law, regulation or procedure under which the amount or range of penalty for the breach has been prescribed.

3.6       When a person voluntarily discloses to a Member's customs administration the circumstances of a breach of a customs law, regulation, or procedural requirement prior to the discovery of the breach by the customs administration, the Member is encouraged to, where appropriate, consider this fact as a potential mitigating factor when establishing a penalty for that person.

3.7       The provisions of this paragraph shall apply to the penalties on traffic in transit referred to in paragraph 3.1.

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Release and Clearance of Goods icon
Article 7

Release and Clearance of Goods

7.1 Pre-arrival Processing

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Submission of the documents required for the release of imported goods to customs and other border agencies

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Other border agencies

What are the new requirements?

  • Traders shall be permitted to submit the import documentation and other information required for release of imported goods, in electronic format where appropriate, prior to arrival of the goods in order to expedite release
Legal Text

1.1.  Each Member shall adopt or maintain procedures allowing for the submission of import documentation and other required information, including manifests, in order to begin processing prior to the arrival of goods with a view to expediting the release of goods upon arrival.

 1.2.  Members shall, as appropriate, provide for advance lodging of documents in electronic format for pre-arrival processing of such documents.

7.2 Electronic Payment

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

The means by which a trader can pay his duties, taxes, fees and charges

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Other Border Agencies
  • Revenue Authority

What is the new requirement?

To the extent practicable, Members should allow electronic payment of duties, taxes, fees and charges.

Legal Text

Each Member shall, to the extent practicable, adopt or maintain procedures allowing the option of electronic payment for duties, taxes, fees and charges collected by customs incurred upon importation and exportation.

7.3 Separation of Release from Final Determination of Customs Duties, Taxes, Fees and Charges

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Release of imported goods from Customs

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What are the new requirements?

  • Members shall allow importers to obtain release of their goods, under a guarantee, if required, prior to the final determination and payment of customs duties, taxes, fees and charges where the final determination is not done prior to, upon arrival or as rapidly as possible after arrival
  • Any required guarantee shall be limited in amount to the equivalent of duties, taxes, fees and charges to which the goods may be liable, as determined by Customs
  • If the importer commits an offense, Customs may require a guarantee for the potential fine or penalty as a condition for release of the goods (however, release of goods in cases of violations of law or fraud shall be determined by each Member’s law)
  • Customs shall discharge the guarantee without delay when no longer required for its intended purposes/when all requirements have been met
Legal Text

3.1       Each Member shall adopt or maintain procedures allowing the release of goods prior to the final determination of customs duties, taxes, fees and charges, if such a determination is not done prior to, or upon arrival, or as rapidly as possible after arrival and provided that all other regulatory requirements have been met.

3.2       As a condition for such release, a Member may require:

(a)        payment of customs duties, taxes, fees, and charges determined prior to or upon arrival of goods and a guarantee for any amount not yet determined in the form of a surety, a deposit, or another appropriate instrument provided for in its laws and regulations; or

(b)        payment of a guarantee in the form of a surety, a deposit, or other appropriate instrument provided for in its laws and regulations.

3.3       Such guarantee shall not be greater than the amount the Member requires to ensure payment of customs duties, taxes, fees, and charges ultimately due for the goods covered by the guarantee.

3.4       In cases where an offence requiring imposition of monetary penalties or fines has been detected, a guarantee may be required for the penalties and fines that may be imposed.

3.5       The guarantee as set out in paragraphs 3.2 and 3.4 shall be discharged when it is no longer required.

3.6       Nothing in these provisions shall affect the right of a Member to examine, detain, seize or confiscate or deal with the goods in any manner not otherwise inconsistent with the Member's WTO rights and obligations.

7.4 Risk Management

Article Resources
Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

The methodology or practices that Customs uses to determine which import, export or transit transactions or operators should be subject to control and the type and degree of control to be applied.

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What are the new requirements?

  • Members shall apply risk management to customs control in connection with import, export and transit of goods
  • Members shall concentrate customs control on high risk consignments and expedite the release of low-risk goods
  • Members shall use appropriate selectivity criteria in applying risk management
Legal Text

4.1       Each Member shall, to the extent possible, adopt or maintain a risk management system for customs control.

4.2       Each Member shall design and apply risk management in a manner as to avoid arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination, or a disguised restriction on international trade.

4.3       Each Member shall concentrate customs control and, to the extent possible other relevant border controls, on high risk consignments and expedite the release of low risk consignments. A Member may also select, on a random basis, consignments for such controls as part of its risk management.

4.4       Each Member shall base risk management on an assessment of risk through appropriate selectivity criteria. Such selectivity criteria may include, inter alia, Harmonized System code, nature and description of the goods, country of origin, country from which the goods were shipped, value of the goods, compliance record of traders, and type of means of transport.

7.5 Post-Clearance Audit

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Customs verification of compliance with customs and related laws and regulations through examination of the trader’s books and records at his premises following release of the goods

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What are the new requirements?

  • Members must use post-clearance audit  "with a view to expediting the release of goods" and, wherever practicable, to inform risk management
  • Audits must be transparent and the persons subject to audit should be notified with information about audit results.
Legal Text

5.1       With a view to expediting the release of goods, each Member shall adopt or maintain post-clearance audit to ensure compliance with customs and other related laws and regulations.

5.2       Each Member shall select a person or a consignment for post-clearance audit in a risk-based manner, which may include appropriate selectivity criteria. Each Member shall conduct post-clearance audits in a transparent manner. Where the person is involved in the audit process and conclusive results have been achieved the Member shall, without delay, notify the person whose record is audited of the results, the person's rights and obligations, and the reasons for the results.

5.3       The information obtained in post-clearance audit may be used in further administrative or judicial proceedings.

5.4       Members shall, wherever practicable, use the result of post-clearance audit in applying risk management.

7.6 Establishment and Publication of Average Release Times

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Measuring the performance of customs and other border agencies with respect to the release of goods

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Other Border Agencies

What are the new requirements?

  • Members are encouraged to measure and publish, on a periodic basis and in a consistent manner, the average time it takes to release goods
  • Members are encouraged to share their experience in carrying out these measurements with the WTO trade facilitation committee.
Legal Text

6.1       Members are encouraged to measure and publish their average release time of goods periodically and in a consistent manner, using tools such as, inter alia, the Time Release Study of the World Customs Organization (referred to in this Agreement as the "WCO").[1]

6.2       Members are encouraged to share with the Committee their experiences in measuring average release times, including methodologies used, bottlenecks identified, and any resulting effects on efficiency.

 


[1] Each Member may determine the scope and methodology of such average release time measurement in accordance with its needs and capacity.

7.7 Trade Facilitation Measures for Authorized Operators

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Special or preferential customs treatment provided to reliable traders

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What are the new requirements?

  • Members shall provide certain additional trade facilitation benefits to "authorized operators," or those traders who Customs has determined present a low risk of non-compliance with legal requirements.
  • Members shall publish the qualification criteria
  • Members’ are encouraged to base authorized trader schemes on international standards, unless inappropriate or ineffective
  • A Member shall afford other Members the possibility to negotiate a mutual recognition of their respective authorized trader schemes.
Legal Text

7.1      Each Member shall provide additional trade facilitation measures related to import, export, or transit formalities and procedures, pursuant to paragraph 7.3, to operators who meet specified criteria, hereinafter called authorized operators. Alternatively, a Member may offer such trade facilitation measures through customs procedures generally available to all operators and is not required to establish a separate scheme.

7.2      The specified criteria to qualify as an authorized operator shall be related to compliance, or the risk of non-compliance, with requirements specified in a Member's laws, regulations or procedures.

            (a)        Such criteria, which shall be published, may include:

(i)         an appropriate record of compliance with customs and other related laws and regulations;

(ii)        a system of managing records to allow for necessary internal controls;

(iii)       financial solvency, including, where appropriate, provision of a sufficient security  or guarantee; and

(iv)       supply chain security.

            (b)        Such criteria shall not:

(i)         be designed or applied so as to afford or create arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between operators where the same conditions prevail; and

(ii)        to the extent possible, restrict the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises.

7.3       The trade facilitation measures provided pursuant to paragraph 7.1 shall include at least three of the following measures:[1]

(a)        low documentary and data requirements, as appropriate;

(b)        low rate of physical inspections and examinations, as appropriate;

(c)        rapid release time, as appropriate;

(d)        deferred payment of duties, taxes, fees, and charges;

(e)        use of comprehensive guarantees or reduced guarantees;

(f)         a single customs declaration for all imports or exports in a given period; and

(g)        clearance of goods at the premises of the authorized operator or another place authorized by customs.

7.4      Members are encouraged to develop authorized operator schemes on the basis of international standards, where such standards exist, except when such standards would be an inappropriate or ineffective means for the fulfilment of the legitimate objectives pursued.

7.5      In order to enhance the trade facilitation measures provided to operators, Members shall afford to other Members the possibility of negotiating mutual recognition of authorized operator schemes.

7.6      Members shall exchange relevant information within the Committee about authorized operator schemes in force.

 


[1] A measure listed in subparagraphs 7.3 (a) to (g) will be deemed to be provided to authorized operators if it is generally available to all operators.

7.8 Expedited Shipments

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Documents and goods imported by air express-delivery operators and other expedited shippers

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Airport owner/operator

What is the new requirement?

  • Members shall establish special facilitative procedures (as described in paragraph 8.2) to allow expedited release of at least those goods entered through air cargo facilities
  • Members may permit only those persons or firms who fulfil the criteria listed in the subparagraphs of 8.1 to apply for expedited release treatment
  • Criteria for application for expedited release treatment shall be published
Legal Text

8.1        Each Member shall adopt or maintain procedures allowing for the expedited release of at least those goods entered through air cargo facilities to persons who apply for such treatment, while maintaining customs control.[1] If a Member employs criteria[2] limiting who may apply, the Member may, in published criteria, require that the applicant shall, as conditions for qualifying for the application of the treatment described in paragraph 8.2 to its expedited shipments:

(a)        provide adequate infrastructure and payment of customs expenses related to processing of expedited shipments in cases where the applicant fulfils the Member's requirements for such processing to be performed at a dedicated facility;

(b)        submit in advance of the arrival of an expedited shipment the information necessary for the release;

(c)        be assessed fees limited in amount to the approximate cost of services rendered in providing the treatment described in paragraph 8.2;

(d)        maintain a high degree of control over expedited shipments through the use of internal security, logistics, and tracking technology from pick-up to delivery;

(e)        provide expedited shipment from pick-up to delivery;

(f)         assume liability for payment of all customs duties, taxes, fees, and charges to the customs authority for the goods;

(g)        have a good record of compliance with customs and other related laws and regulations;

(h)        comply with other conditions directly related to the effective enforcement of the Member's laws, regulations, and procedural requirements, that specifically relate to providing the treatment described in paragraph 8.2.

8.2       Subject to paragraphs 8.1 and 8.3, Members shall:

(a)        minimize the documentation required for the release of expedited shipments in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 10 and, to the extent possible, provide for release based on a single submission of information on certain shipments;

(b)        provide for expedited shipments to be released under normal circumstances as rapidly as possible after arrival, provided the information required for release has been submitted;

(c)        endeavour to apply the treatment in subparagraphs (a) and (b) to shipments of any weight or value recognizing that a Member is permitted to require additional entry procedures, including declarations and supporting documentation and payment of duties and taxes, and to limit such treatment based on the type of good, provided the treatment is not limited to low value goods such as documents; and

(d)        provide, to the extent possible, for a de minimis shipment value or dutiable amount for which customs duties and taxes will not be collected, aside from certain prescribed goods. Internal taxes, such as value added taxes and excise taxes, applied to imports consistently with Article III of the GATT 1994 are not subject to this provision.

8.3       Nothing in paragraphs 8.1 and 8.2 shall affect the right of a Member to examine, detain, seize, confiscate or refuse entry of goods, or to carry out post-clearance audits, including in connection with the use of risk management systems.  Further, nothing in paragraphs 8.1 and 8.2 shall prevent a Member from requiring, as a condition for release, the submission of additional information and the fulfilment of non-automatic licensing requirements.

 


[1] In cases where a Member has an existing procedure that provides the treatment in paragraph 8.2, this provision does not require that Member to introduce separate expedited release procedures.

[2] Such application criteria, if any, shall be in addition to the Member's requirements for operating with respect to all goods or shipments entered through air cargo facilities.

7.9 Perishable Goods

Article Resources

GENERAL GUIDELINES

IATA - Perishable Cargo Regulations Manual (2020)

IATA - Temperature Control Regulations (2020)

WCO - RKC General Annex Guidelines - Chapter 3 (Clearance and other Customs Formalities) Standard(s) 3.34

 

CASE STUDIES AND COUNTRY SPECIFIC INITIATIVES

No case studies at this time. To suggest or submit a case study, please contact us

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Customs clearance and release of imported "perishable goods"

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Other Border Agencies involved in the release of perishable goods

What is the new requirement?

Members shall adopt or maintain procedures for the importation of perishable goods that:

  • allow release within shortest possible time;
  • provide for release, where appropriate, outside Customs normal business hours;
  • give priority to such goods when scheduling examinations;
  • allow such goods to be stored in appropriate conditions for their conservation, where facilities approved by the relevant authorities are available;
  • where practicable, and upon request, allow release to occur at these storage facilities; and
  • require Customs to give a written explanation to the importer, on request, when there is a significant delay in the release of the goods.
Legal Text

9.1       With a view to preventing avoidable loss or deterioration of perishable goods, and provided that all regulatory requirements have been met, each Member shall provide for the release of perishable goods:

(a)        under normal circumstances within the shortest possible time; and

(b)        in exceptional circumstances where it would be appropriate to do so, outside the business hours of customs and other relevant authorities.

9.2       Each Member shall give appropriate priority to perishable goods when scheduling any examinations that may be required.

9.3       Each Member shall either arrange or allow an importer to arrange for the proper storage of perishable goods pending their release. The Member may require that any storage facilities arranged by the importer have been approved or designated by its relevant authorities. The movement of the goods to those storage facilities, including authorizations for the operator moving the goods, may be subject to the approval, where required, of the relevant authorities. The Member shall, where practicable and consistent with domestic legislation, upon the request of the importer, provide for any procedures necessary for release to take place at those storage facilities.

9.4       In cases of significant delay in the release of perishable goods, and upon written request, the importing Member shall, to the extent practicable, provide a communication on the reasons for the delay.

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Border Agency Cooperation Icon
Article 8

Border Agency Cooperation

8 Border Agency Cooperation

Article Resources

GENERAL GUIDELINES

UNCTAD - Border Agency Coordination - Technical Note No.14 (2011)

WCO - RKC General Annex Guidelines - Chapter 3 (Clearance and other Customs Formalities) Standard(s) 3.35

WCO - SAFE Framework of Standards 2018

WCO - Coordinated Border Management Compendium

WCO - Single Window Compendium Volume 1 For Executives/Senior Management

WCO - Single Window Compendium Volume 2 For Technical Experts

WCO – Single Window Supplement

WCO – Coordinated Border Management

WCO - Data Model Flyer

WCO - Data Model General Brochure

WCO - Data Model Technical Brochure

WCO - Data Model Data Harmonization

WCO – Guidelines on Customs-Tax Cooperation

USAID- International Border Agency Cooperation Guide 

 

CASE STUDIES AND COUNTRY SPECIFIC INITIATIVES

AEBR - CROSS-BORDER COOPERATION IN SOUTH AMERICA 

AsDB - The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program - CS #60 Aid for Trade 5GR  

Botswana - Beginning the CBM process: the Botswana experience (2015)

Croatia - Strategy for Integrated Border Management

CUTS - Attari-Wagah Border of India and Pakistan - CS #100 Aid for Trade 5GR

ECOWAS - West Africa Joint Border Post (JBP) Programme - CS #38 Aid for Trade 5GR 

European Union - EU launches new Customs Data Model based on WCO standards (2016)

Finland - Managing land borders, the innovative Finnish model (2015)

Germany - Coordinated Border Management

Hong Kong, China - Road Cargo System (ROCARS)

Japan - Capacity building for Customs Administration and capacity development for Trade Facilitation in Eastern Africa - CS #07 Aid for Trade 5GR

Lesotho Revenue Authority- Customs Modernisation Programme - CS #21 Aid for Trade 5GR 

Lesotho - Technical Assistance on Trade Facilitation - CS #05 Aid for Trade 5GR 

Netherlands - Coordinated Border Management in the Netherlands (2015)

New Zealand - Implementing New Zealand’s Joint Border Management System (2015)

Norway - Case Study on Border Agency Cooperation (2011)

OECS - Border Cooperation for the OECS Customs Union and Free Circulation of Goods- CARICOM (2019)

Singapore - Coordinated Border Management: A Whole-of-Government Approach: Singapore Customs (2015)

UNECLAC - Trade facilitation and paperless trade implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean

UNECLAC - Facilitation of transport: experience with binational dialogue between the Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic

USA - BEST, an interagency collaboration model that’s keeping the United States safer (2015)

World Bank - Trading Across Borders in Guatemala and Honduras (2018) 

Zambia - Case Study on Customs cooperation (2011) 

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

  • The activities of the different national border agencies in connection with an import, export or transit transaction
  • The activities of the border agencies of two Members in connection with trade across a shared border

Which authorities are directly concerned?

  • All border agencies

What are the new requirements?

  • National border authorities/agencies shall cooperate and coordinate border controls and procedures to facilitate trade
  • Countries with common land borders shall cooperate and coordinate procedures to facilitate cross-border trade
Legal Text

1.         Each Member shall ensure that its authorities and agencies responsible for border controls and procedures dealing with the importation, exportation, and transit of goods cooperate with one another and coordinate their activities in order to facilitate trade.

2.         Each Member shall, to the extent possible and practicable, cooperate on mutually agreed terms with other Members with whom they share a common border with a view to coordinating procedures at border crossings to facilitate cross-border trade. Such cooperation and coordination may include:

(a)        alignment of working days and hours;

(b)        alignment of procedures and formalities;

(c)        development and sharing of common facilities;

(d)        joint controls;

(e)        establishment of one stop border post control.

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Movement of goods intended for import under customs control Icon
Article 9

Movement of goods intended for import under customs control

9 Movement of goods intended for import under customs control

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Imported goods arrive at one customs office (for example, an international airport or a seaport) for delivery to an inland destination within the same country, where the importer will declare and clear the goods.  The goods may be offloaded from the international carrier at the point of entry and loaded on another means of transport (truck or rail, for example) for carriage to the final destination.

The measure is intended to allow the goods to be moved under a simplified procedure to the inland customs office, and permit the importer to clear them at the destination rather than at the port of arrival.

Which authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What are the new requirements?

  • A declarant should be able to move goods from a customs office of entry to another customs office within the same customs territory.

Each Member shall, to the extent practicable, and provided all regulatory requirements are met, allow goods intended for import to be moved within its territory under customs control from a customs office of entry to another customs office in its territory from where the goods would be released or cleared.

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Formalities connected with importation, exportation and transit
Article 10

Formalities connected with importation, exportation and transit

10.1 Formalities and Documentation Requirements

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Import, export and transit formalities and documentation requirements.

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • All border agencies

What are the new requirements?

  • Members must periodically review formalities and documentation requirements with a view towards simplifying or reducing them
  • Documentation requirements or formalities should be as fast and efficient as possible.  They should not be adopted if a less trade-restrictive solution is available. They should be eliminated or modified if no longer necessary.
Legal Text

1.1       With a view to minimizing the incidence and complexity of import, export, and transit formalities and of decreasing and simplifying import, export, and transit documentation requirements and taking into account the legitimate policy objectives and other factors such as changed circumstances, relevant new information, business practices, availability of techniques and technology, international best practices and inputs from interested parties, each Member shall review such formalities and documentation requirements and, based on the results of the review, ensure, as appropriate, that such formalities and documentation requirements are:

(a)        adopted and/or applied with a view to a rapid release and clearance of goods, particularly perishable goods;

(b)        adopted and/or applied in a manner that aims at reducing the time and cost of compliance for traders and operators;

(c)        the least trade restrictive measure chosen where two or more alternative measures are reasonably available for fulfilling the policy objective or objectives in question; and

(d)        not maintained, including parts thereof, if no longer required.

1.2       The Committee shall develop procedures for the sharing by Members of relevant information and best practices, as appropriate.

10.2 Acceptance of Copies

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Presentation of supporting documents for import, export or transit formalities

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • All border agencies

What are the new requirements?

  • Border agencies shall endeavour to accept copies of supporting documents that may be required for import, export or transit formalities.
  • If the original document has been provided to one government authority, other government authorities shall accept a copy authenticated by the agency holding the original.
  • Neither an original nor a copy of the export declaration issued by authorities in the country of export shall be required for importation of the goods.
Legal Text

2.1      Each Member shall, where appropriate, endeavour to accept paper or electronic copies of supporting documents required for import, exportor transit formalities.

2.2      Where a government agency of a Member already holds the original of such a document, any other agency of that Member shall accept a paper or electronic copy, where applicable, from the agency holding the original in lieu of the original document.

2.3      A Member shall not require an original or copy of export declarations submitted to the customs authorities of the exporting Member as a requirement for importation.[1]

 


[1] Nothing in this paragraph precludes a Member from requiring documents such as certificates, permits or licenses as a requirement for the importation of controlled or regulated goods.

10.3 Use of International Standards

Quick Summary Notes

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • All border agencies

What activity does this measure regulate?

  • Import, export and transit formalities and procedures

What is the new requirement?

  • Members are encouraged to use "relevant international standards" as the basis for their import, export and transit formalities and procedures.
  • Members are encouraged to take part in preparation and periodic review of standards through the "appropriate" international organizations.
Legal Text

3.1       Members are encouraged to use relevant international standards or parts thereof as a basis for their import, export or transit formalities and procedures, except as otherwise provided for in this Agreement.

3.2       Members are encouraged to take part, within the limits of their resources, in the preparation and periodic review of relevant international standards by appropriate international organizations.

3.3       The Committee shall develop procedures for the sharing by Members of relevant information, and best practices, on the implementation of international standards, as appropriate.

The Committee may also invite relevant international organizations to discuss their work on international standards.  As appropriate, the Committee may identify specific standards that are of particular value to Members.

10.4 Single Window

Article Resources

GENERAL GUIDELINES

AACE - Guidelines for Single Window Implementation in Africa (2017) 

UNECE - Single Submission Portal. Recommendation 37 (2019)

UNECE -  Data Simplification and Standardization for International Trade. Recommendation 34 (2014)

UNECE - Establishing a Legal Framework for an International Trade Single Window. Recommendation 35 (2014)

UNECE - Single Window Interoperability. Recommendation No. 36 (2017)

UNECE - Trends for collaboration in international trade: building a common Single Window Environment (2013)

UNECE - Proceedings of the Conference: Connecting International Trade: Single Windows and Supply Chains in the Next Decade (2013)

UNECE - Single Window for Trade (2005) 

UNECE - Single window - Recommendation no. 33 (2005) 

UNRCS - TF and Paperless Trade Implementation Survey 2015 - Latin America and the Caribbean (2015) 

WCO - RKC General Annex Guidelines - Chapter 3 (Clearance and other Customs Formalities)

WCO - Single Window Compendium Volume 1 For Executives/Senior Management

WCO - Single Window Compendium Volume 2 For Technical Experts

WCO – Single Window Supplement

WCO - Data Model Flyer

WCO - Data Model General Brochure

WCO - Data Model Technical Brochure

WCO - Data Model Data Harmonization

WCO - SAFE Framework of Standards 2018

WCO - Coordinated Border Management Compendium

WCO - IT Guide for Executives

Model laws and convention for digitalization/e-commerce:

UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (2017) (MLETR)   

Model Law on Electronic Commerce     

United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts  
 

CASE STUDIES AND COUNTRY SPECIFIC INITIATIVES

Brasil - TFA implementation in Brazil through Public-Private Partnership (2019)

Chile - Implementing Single Window in Chile

China - Single Window (2019)

Chinese Taipei – Single Window (2019)

Colombia – Single Window 

Ecuador - Single Window (2011) 

El Salvador – Single Window (2011) 

Kenya - Environment and Implementation of the National Single Window - CS #24 Aid for Trade 5GR 

Kenya - Electronic Single Window Connects East Africa to Global Value Chains - Smart Lessons Case Study Competition (2017) 

Korea – Single Window (2018) 

Korea – Single Window (2011) 

Korea - UNI-PASS: Korea’s Customs modernization tool (2016)

Lesotho Revenue Authority - Customs Modernisation Programme - Aid for Trade 5GR CS #21

Morocco - PortNet: Creating a Strategic Alliance between Port and Foreign Trade Communities for a Competitive Economic Operator - Smart Lessons Case Study Competition (2017) 

New Zealand Single Window opens for business (2013)

Nigeria develops an organic National Single Window (2013)

Nigeria – Single Window (2011) 

Peru - Single Window for Foreign Trade (VUCE) - CS #112 Aid for Trade 5GR 

Peru - Single Window 

Rwanda - The Electronic Single Window for Trade Efficiency - Smart Lessons Case Study Competition Finalist (2017) 

Rwanda - UNCTAD Compendium of Good Practices (2019) 

Rwanda - Rwanda electronic single window - CS #13 Aid for Trade 5GR  

Sri Lanka - Study on challenges implementing Single Window (2015) 

Qatar introduces the Customs Clearance Single Window (2014)

Qatar’s Single Window system continues to deliver improved results (2015)

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Traders’ submission of documents/data to multiple government agencies to allow import, export or transit of a goods shipment.

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • All border agencies

What is the new requirement?

  • Members shall endeavour to establish a "single window" to which a trader can submit all documents and/or data required by customs and all other border or licensing authorities for the import, export or transit of goods, and from which the trader will receive all notifications.
  • "One-time submission:" where a trader submits required data and/or documents to the single window he/she shall not be asked again for the same information other than in exceptional cases.
  • Members shall use ICT to the extent possible and practicable.
Legal Text

4.1 Members shall endeavour to establish or maintain a single window, enabling traders to submit documentation and/or data requirements for importation, exportation or transit of goods through a single entry point to the participating authorities or agencies. After the examination by the participating authorities or agencies of the documentation and/or data, the results shall be notified to the applicants through the single window in a timely manner.

4.2 In cases where documentation and/or data requirements have already been received through the single window, the same documentation and/or data requirements shall not be requested by participating authorities or agencies except in urgent circumstances and other limited exceptions which are made public.

4.3 Members shall notify to the Committee the details of operation of the single window.

4.4 Members shall, to the extent possible and practical, use information technology to support the single window.

10.5 Pre-shipment Inspection

Article Resources
Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

Use of pre-shipment inspection firms to carry out customs-related controls on imported goods

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Revenue Authority
  • Customs

What is the new requirement?

  • If a Member presently requires pre-shipment inspection of imports in relation to tariff classification or customs valuation, it shall end such requirements
  • Members are encouraged not to introduce any such pre-shipment inspection requirements in the future.

5.1       Members shall not require the use of preshipment inspections in relation to tariff classification and customs valuation.

5.2         Without prejudice to the rights of Members to use other types of preshipment inspection not covered by paragraph 5.1, Members are encouraged not to introduce or apply new requirements regarding their use.[1]

 


[1] This paragraph refers to preshipment inspections covered by the Agreement on Preshipment Inspection, and does not preclude preshipment inspections for sanitary and phytosanitary purposes.

10.6 Use of Customs Brokers

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this proposal regulate?

The use of customs brokers in import, export or transit operations

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What is the new requirement?

  • Members shall not introduce the requirement for the mandatory use of customs brokers.
  • Measures on the use of customs brokers, or any subsequent modifications thereof shall be notified to the Committee and published promptly.
  • Any broker licensing rules shall be transparent and objective.
Legal Text

6.1       Without prejudice to the important policy concerns of some Members that currently maintain a special role for customs brokers, from the entry into force of this Agreement Members shall not introduce the mandatory use of customs brokers.

6.2       Each Member shall notify the Committee and publish its measures on the use of customs brokers. Any subsequent modifications thereof shall be notified and published promptly.

6.3       With regard to the licensing of customs brokers, Members shall apply rules that are transparent and objective.

10.7 Common Border Procedures and Uniform Documentation Requirements

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this measure regulate?

The import/export procedures applied by Customs, and documentation requirements, at the different entry and exit offices within the customs territory

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What is the new requirement?

  • Customs shall apply uniform documentation requirements and uniform release and clearance procedures.
Legal Text

7.1       Each Member shall, subject to paragraph 7.2, apply common customs procedures and uniform documentation requirements for release and clearance of goods throughout its territory.

7.2       Nothing in this Article shall prevent a Member from:

(a)        differentiating its procedures and documentation requirements based on the nature and type of goods, or their means of transport;

(b)        differentiating its procedures and documentation requirements for goods based on risk management;

(c)        differentiating its procedures and documentation requirements to provide total or partial exemption from import duties or taxes;

(d)        applying electronic filing or processing; or

(e)        differentiating its procedures and documentation requirements in a manner consistent with the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

10.8 Rejected Goods

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this proposal regulate?

The re-export or return of imported goods that have been rejected by government authorities

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Other Border Agencies (particularly those involved in sanitary, phytosanitary and product standards issues: i.e. the Food Safety authority, Agriculture ministry, etc.)

What is the new requirement?

  • The importer shall have the right to return to the exporter, or any other person, imported goods that have been rejected by competent authorities due to failure to comply with prescribed sanitary and phytosanitary regulations or technical regulations.
Legal Text

8.1       Where goods presented for import are rejected by the competent authority of a Member on account of their failure to meet prescribed sanitary or phytosanitary regulations or technical regulations, the Member shall, subject to and consistent with its laws and regulations, allow the importer to re-consign or to return the rejected goods to the exporter or another person designated by the exporter.

8.2       When such an option under paragraph 8.1 is given and the importer fails to exercise it within a reasonable period of time, the competent authority may take a different course of action to deal with such non-compliant goods.

10.9 Temporary Admission of Goods and Inward and Outward Processing

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this proposal regulate?

Customs procedures to allow the importation of goods without payment of import duties and taxes, or eligible for duty drawback, subject to conditions on the use to which the goods have been, or will be, put.

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Revenue Authority

What is the new requirement?

  • Members shall adopt customs procedures for the temporary admission, inward processing and outward processing of goods.

A temporary admission procedure allows goods to be imported for a limited period of time (six months, one year, etc.) for defined purposes (e.g., goods to be displayed at trade exhibitions; shipping containers imported to be filled; tools needed for a domestic manufacturing operation; traveller’s personal effects; foreign-registered automobiles used by visitors to the country, etc.) without payment of import duties and taxes.

Manufacturers use the inward processing procedure for goods that have been returned to them for repair or for parts, materials, or other production inputs they use in their processing operations.  Under the procedure, the goods may be imported without payment of duty or taxes provided the manufacturer exports the repaired or finished product within a specified period.  Or duty may be refunded under a duty drawback scheme once the goods are exported.

Outward processing allows persons to send domestic or previously-imported/duty-paid goods abroad for purposes of repair (for example, goods returned to the manufacturer under warranty) or for other processing, and re-import the repaired or processed goods within a fixed period of time without payment of import duty or taxes, with the exception of duty or tax assessed on the value-added by the foreign processing operation.

Legal Text

9.1       Temporary Admission of Goods

Each Member shall allow, as provided for in its laws and regulations, goods to be brought into its customs territory conditionally relieved, totally or partially, from payment of import duties and taxes if such goods are brought into its customs territory for a specific purpose, are intended for re-exportation within a specific period, and have not undergone any change except normal depreciation and wastage due to the use made of them.

9.2       Inward and Outward Processing

(a)        Each Member shall allow, as provided for in its laws and regulations, inward and outward processing of goods. Goods allowed for outward processing may be re-imported with total or partial exemption from import duties and taxes in accordance with the Member's laws and regulations.

(b)        For the purposes of this Article, the term "inward processing" means the customs procedure under which certain goods can be brought into a Member’s customs territory conditionally relieved, totally or partially, from payment of import duties and taxes, or eligible for duty drawback, on the basis that such goods are intended for manufacturing, processing, or repair and subsequent exportation.

(c)        For the purposes of this Article, the term "outward processing" means the customs procedure under which goods which are in free circulation in a Member’s customs territory may be temporarily exported for manufacturing, processing, or repair abroad and then re-imported.

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Freedom of transit Icon
Article 11

Freedom of transit

11 Paragraphs 1-3 (transit charges, regulations, and formalities)

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this proposal regulate?

The regulations and formalities that a Member applies to traffic in transit

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Transport Ministry
  • Other Border Agencies

What are the new requirements?

  • Regulations or formalities on transit shall be eliminated or reduced if no longer required or a less trade-restrictive solution becomes available, and they should not be applied in a manner that would be a disguised restriction on trade
  • Charges that may be imposed on transit only for transit administrative procedures entailed or transit services provided, and shall be limited in amount to the expense of such procedures or cost of such services
  • Members shall not seek, take or maintain voluntary restraints or similar measures on traffic in transit.
Legal Text

1.     Any regulations or formalities in connection with traffic in transit imposed by a Member shall not be:

(a) maintained if the circumstances or objectives giving rise to their adoption no longer exist or if the changed circumstances or objectives can be addressed in a reasonably available less trade restrictive manner;

(b) applied in a manner that would constitute a disguised restriction on traffic in transit.

2.     Traffic in transit shall not be conditioned upon collection of any fees or charges imposed in respect of transit, except the charges for transportation or those commensurate with administrative expenses entailed by transit or with the cost of services rendered.

3.     Members shall not seek, take or maintain any voluntary restraints or any other similar measures on traffic in transit. This is without prejudice to existing and future national regulations, bilateral or multilateral arrangements related to regulating transport, consistent with WTO rules.

11 Paragraph 4 (strengthened non-discrimination)

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this proposal regulate?

Goods in transit and the vessels and transport means of other Members

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Transport Ministry
  • Other Border Agencies

What are the new requirements?

  • Treatment Preceding Transit: A Member shall not treat goods that will pass in transit through another Member’s territory to the final destination less favourably than if the goods were shipped to the destination without passing through that other Member’s territory.
Legal Text

4.     Each Member shall accord to products which will be in transit through the territory of any other Member treatment no less favourable than that which would be accorded to such products if they were being transported from their place of origin to their destination without going through the territory of such other Member.

11 Paragraphs 5-10 (transit, procedures and controls)

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this proposal regulate?

Customs transit procedures and controls

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Transport Ministry

What are the new requirements?

  • In processing and control of transit movements, a Member:
    • shall allow pre-arrival declaration
    • shall not apply formalities, documentation requirements or controls other than those necessary to identify the goods and ensure compliance with transit requirements
    • shall not apply customs charges, formalities or inspections other than at the offices of departure and destination (and not en-route)
    • shall not apply technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures on goods in transit
    • shall promptly terminate the transit operation once goods reach the office of exit, if all requirements are met
  • Members are encouraged to make separate lanes or similar infrastructure for transit in traffic.
Legal Text

5.         Members are encouraged to make available, where practicable, physically separate infrastructure (such as lanes, berths and similar) for traffic in transit.

6.         Formalities, documentation requirements, and customs controls in connection with traffic in transit shall not be more burdensome than necessary to:

            (a)        identify the goods; and

            (b)        ensure fulfillment of transit requirements.

7.         Once goods have been put under a transit procedure and have been authorized to proceed from the point of origination in a Member's territory, they will not be subject to any customs charges nor unnecessary delays or restrictions until they conclude their transit at the point of destination within the Member's territory.

8.         Members shall not apply technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures within the meaning of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade on goods in transit.

9.         Members shall allow and provide for advance filing and processing of transit documentation and data prior to the arrival of goods.

10.       Once traffic in transit has reached the customs office where it exits the territory of the Member, that office shall promptly terminate the transit operation if transit requirements have been met.

11 Paragraphs 11-15 (guarantees)

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this proposal regulate?

The use and discharge of guarantees that may be required by Customs in connection with transit operations

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What are the new requirements?

  • Any guarantee that Customs requires for a transit movement:
    • shall be limited to ensuring that requirements arising from such traffic in transit are fulfilled;
    • shall be discharged by Customs without delay once the transit is completed; and
    • shall, in a manner consistent with its laws and regulations, be comprehensive for same operators or maybe renewed by the trader thereafter.
  • Information on how guarantees are set must be made available to the public.
  • Customs may require a convoy to accompany goods only if the goods are high risk and so specified in the Member’s laws and regulations and published.
Legal Text

11.     Where a Member requires a guarantee in the form of a surety, deposit or other appropriate monetary or non-monetary[1] instrument for traffic in transit, such guarantee shall be limited to ensuring that requirements arising from such traffic in transit are fulfilled.

12.     Once the Member has determined that its transit requirements have been satisfied, the guarantee shall be discharged without delay.

13.     Each Member shall, in a manner consistent with its laws and regulations, allow comprehensive guarantees which include multiple transactions for same operators or renewal of guarantees without discharge for subsequent consignments.

14.     Each Member shall make publicly available the relevant information it uses to set the guarantee, including single transaction and, where applicable, multiple transaction guarantee.

15.    Each Member may require the use of customs convoys or customs escorts for traffic in transit only in circumstances presenting high risks or when compliance with customs laws and regulations cannot be ensured through the use of guarantees. General rules applicable to customs convoys or customs escorts shall be published in accordance with Article 1.


[1] Nothing in this provision shall preclude a Member from maintaining existing procedures whereby the means of transport can be used as a guarantee for traffic in transit.

11 Paragraphs 16-17 (cooperation and coordination)

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this proposal regulate?

Promotion of agreements and coordination on transit matters at a regional and bilateral level

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs
  • Transport Ministry
  • Other Border Agencies

What are the new requirements?

  • Members must endeavour to cooperate and coordinate to enhance freedom of transit
  • Members must endeavour to appoint a national transit coordinator to whom other Members can make enquires and proposals.
Legal Text

16.    Members shall endeavour to cooperate and coordinate with one another with a view to enhancing freedom of transit. Such cooperation and coordination may include, but is not limited to an understanding on:

(a) charges;

(b) formalities and legal requirements; and

(c) the practical operation of transit regimes.

17.    Each Member shall endeavour to appoint a national transit coordinator to which all enquiries and proposals by other Members relating to the good functioning of transit operations can be addressed.

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Article 12

Customs Cooperation

12 Customs Cooperation

Article Resources

GENERAL GUIDELINES

WCO - RKC General Annex Guidelines - Chapter 6 (Customs Control) Standard(s) 6.7

WCO - Customs Co-operation

WCO – SAFE Framework of Standards 2018

WCO – Model Bilateral Agreement

WCO – Nairobi Convention on Customs Offences

WCO – Johannesburg Convention on Customs Matters

WCO – Globally Networked Customs Handbook

WCO – Globally Networked Customs Concept – Strategic Value

WCO - Globally Networked Customs – Frequently Asked Questions

WCO - Customs Enforcement Network Global Application (CEN) (A central depositary for enforcement-related information. For more information on the CEN, please contact cis [at] wcoomd.org)

WCO - National Customs Enforcement Network Application (nCEN) (Contains law-enforcement information on the national level, with the additional capability to exchange this information at the regional and international levels.
For more information on the nCEN please contact 
ncen [at] wcoomd.org)

WCO - Customs Enforcement Network Communication Platform (CENcomm) (A tool that facilitates the exchange and use of data in a timely, reliable and secure manner with direct access available 24 hours a day. For more information on CENcomm, please contact cis [at] wcoomd.org)

 

CASE STUDIES AND COUNTRY SPECIFIC INITIATIVES

Canada - Customs Cooperation (2012)

Georgia, Europe’s first nCEN Country (2016)

Mauritius, the first country to implement nCEN (2011)

Namibia’s Customs modernization drive and nCEN experience (2014)

South Africa and Swaziland – Implementing Exchange of Information

United States - Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements (CMAA)

Quick Summary Notes

What activity does this proposal regulate?

Customs-to-Customs exchange of information for purposes of verifying goods declarations

What authorities are directly concerned?

  • Customs

What are the new requirements?

  • One Member shall provide another, upon request and subject to conditions, information and/or documents concerning specific import or export declarations.
Legal Text

1          Measures Promoting Compliance and Cooperation

1.1       Members agree on the importance of ensuring that traders are aware of their compliance obligations, encouraging voluntary compliance to allow importers to self-correct without penalty in appropriate circumstances, and applying compliance measures to initiate stronger measures for non-compliant traders.[1]

1.2       Members are encouraged to share information on best practices in managing customs compliance, including through the Committee. Members are encouraged to cooperate in technical guidance or assistance and support for capacity building for the purposes of administering compliance measures and enhancing their effectiveness.

2          Exchange of Information

2.1       Upon request and subject to the provisions of this Article, Members shall exchange the information set out in subparagraphs 6.1(b) and/or (c) for the purpose of verifying an import or export declaration in identified cases where there are reasonable grounds to doubt the truth or accuracy of the declaration.

2.2       Each Member shall notify the Committee of the details of its contact point for the exchange of this information.

3          Verification

A Member shall make a request for information only after it has conducted appropriate verification procedures of an import or export declaration and after it has inspected the available relevant documentation.

4          Request

4.1       The requesting Member shall provide the requested Member with a written request, through paper or electronic means in a mutually agreed official language of the WTO or other mutually agreed language, including:

(a)        the matter at issue including, where appropriate and available, the number identifying the export declaration corresponding to the import declaration in question;

(b)        the purpose for which the requesting Member is seeking the information or documents, along with the names and contact details of the persons to whom the request relates, if known;

(c)        where required by the requested Member, confirmation[2] of the verification where appropriate;

(d)        the specific information or documents requested;

(e)        the identity of the originating office making the request;

(f)         reference to provisions of the requesting Member's domestic law and legal system that govern the collection, protection, use, disclosure, retention, and disposal of confidential information and personal data.

4.2       If the requesting Member is not in a position to comply with any of the subparagraphs of paragraph 4.1, it shall specify this in the request.

5          Protection and Confidentiality

5.1       The requesting Member shall, subject to paragraph 5.2:

(a)        hold all information or documents provided by the requested Member strictly in confidence and grant at least     the same level of such protection and confidentiality as that provided under the domestic law and legal system of the requested Member as described by it under subparagraphs 6.1(b) or (c);

(b)        provide information or documents only to the customs authorities dealing with the matter at issue and use the information or documents solely for the purpose stated in    the request unless the requested Member agrees otherwise in writing;

(c)        not disclose the information or documents without the specific written permission of the requested Member;

(d)                    not use any unverified information or documents from the requested Member as the deciding factor towards alleviating the doubt in any given circumstance;

(e)        respect any case-specific conditions set out by the requested Member regarding retention and disposal of confidential information or documents and personal data; and

(f)         upon request, inform the requested Member of any decisions and actions taken on the matter as a result of the information or documents provided.

5.2       A requesting Member may be unable under its domestic law and legal system to comply with any of the subparagraphs of paragraph 5.1. If so, the requesting Member shall specify this in the request.

5.3       The requested Member shall treat any request and verification information received under paragraph 4 with at least the same level of protection and confidentiality accorded by the requested Member to its own similar information.

6          Provision of Information

6.1       Subject to the provisions of this Article, the requested Member shall promptly:

(a)        respond in writing, through paper or electronic means;

(b)        provide the specific information as set out in the import or export declaration, or the declaration, to the extent it is available, along with a description of the level of protection and confidentiality required of the requesting Member;

(c)        if requested, provide the specific information as set out in the following documents, or the documents, submitted in support of the import or export declaration, to the extent it is available: commercial invoice, packing list, certificate of origin and bill of lading, in the form in which these were filed, whether paper or electronic, along with a description of the level of protection and confidentiality required of the requesting Member;

(d)        confirm that the documents provided are true copies;

(e)        provide the information or otherwise respond to the request, to the extent possible, within 90 days from the date of the request.

6.2      The requested Member may require, under its domestic law and legal system, an assurance prior to the provision of information that the specific information will not be used as evidence in criminal investigations, judicial proceedings, or in non-customs proceedings without the specific written permission of the requested Member. If the requesting Member is not in a position to comply with this requirement, it should specify this to the requested Member.

7         Postponement or Refusal of a Request

7.1      A requested Member may postpone or refuse part or all of a request to provide information, and shall inform the requesting Member of the reasons for doing so, where:

(a)        it would be contrary to the public interest as reflected in the domestic law and legal system of the requested Member;

(b)        its domestic law and legal system prevents the release of the information. In such a case it shall provide the requesting Member with a copy of the relevant, specific reference;

(c)        the provision of the information would impede law enforcement or otherwise interfere with an on-going administrative or judicial investigation, prosecution or proceeding;

(d)        the consent of the importer or exporter is required by its domestic law and legal system that govern the collection, protection, use, disclosure, retention, and disposal of confidential information or personal data and that consent is not given; or 

(e)        the request for information is received after the expiration of the legal requirement of the requested Member for the retention of documents.

7.2       In the circumstances of paragraphs 4.2, 5.2, or 6.2, execution of such a request shall be at the discretion of the requested Member.

8          Reciprocity

If the requesting Member is of the opinion that it would be unable to comply with a similar request if it was made by the requested Member, or if it has not yet implemented this Article, it shall state that fact in its request. Execution of such a request shall be at the discretion of the requested Member.

9          Administrative Burden

9.1       The requesting Member shall take into account the associated resource and cost implications for the requested Member in responding to requests for information. The requesting Member shall consider the proportionality between its fiscal interest in pursuing its request and the efforts to be made by the requested Member in providing the information.

9.2       If a requested Member receives an unmanageable number of requests for information or a request for information of unmanageable scope from one or more requesting Member(s) and is unable to meet such requests within a reasonable time, it may request one or more of the requesting Member(s) to prioritize with a view to agreeing on a practical limit within its resource constraints. In the absence of a mutually-agreed approach, the execution of such requests shall be at the discretion of the requested Member based on the results of its own prioritization.

10        Limitations

A requested Member shall not be required to:

(a)        modify the format of its import or export declarations or procedures;

(b)        call for documents other than those submitted with the import or export declaration as specified in subparagraph 6.1(c);

(c)        initiate enquiries to obtain the information;

(d)        modify the period of retention of such information;

(e)        introduce paper documentation where electronic format has already been introduced;

(f)         translate the information;

(g)        verify the accuracy of the information; or

(h)        provide information that would prejudice the legitimate commercial interests of particular enterprises, public or private.

11        Unauthorized Use or Disclosure

11.1     In the event of any breach of the conditions of use or disclosure of information exchanged under this Article, the requesting Member that received the information shall promptly communicate the details of such unauthorized use or disclosure to the requested Member that provided the information and:

(a)        take necessary measures to remedy the breach;

(b)        take necessary measures to prevent any future breach; and

(c)        notify the requested Member of the measures taken under subparagraphs (a) and (b).

11.2     The requested Member may suspend its obligations to the requesting Member under this Article until the measures set out in paragraph 11.1 have been taken.

12        Bilateral and Regional Agreements

12.1     Nothing in this Article shall prevent a Member from entering into or maintaining a bilateral, plurilateral, or regional agreement for sharing or exchange of customs information and data, including on a secure and rapid basis such as on an automatic basis or in advance of the arrival of the consignment.

12.2     Nothing in this Article shall be construed as altering or affecting a Member’s rights or obligations under such bilateral, plurilateral, or regional agreements, or as governing the exchange of customs information and data under such other agreements.

 


[1] Such activity has the overall objective of lowering the frequency of non-compliance, and consequently reducing the need for exchange of information in pursuit of enforcement.

[2] This may include pertinent information on the verification conducted under paragraph 3. Such information shall be subject to the level of protection and confidentiality specified by the Member conducting the verification.

Section II contains special and differential treatment (SDT) provisions that allow developing and LDC Members to determine when they will implement individual provisions of the Agreement and to identify provisions that they will only be able to implement upon the receipt of technical assistance and support for capacity building. To benefit from SDT, a Member must categorize each provision of the Agreement, as defined below, and notify other WTO Members of these categorizations in accordance with specific timelines outlined in the Agreement (see below). For provisions designated as categories B and C, the Member must provide dates for implementation of the provisions. 

More information for each provision can be found below (click arrow to open)

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Special and Differential Treatment Provisions for Developing Country Members and Least-Developed Country Members

Section II Articles

13 General Principles

Legal Text

1.     The provisions contained in Articles 1 to 12 of this Agreement shall be implemented by developing and least-developed country Members in accordance with this Section, which is based on the modalities agreed in Annex D of the July 2004 Framework Agreement (WT/L/579) and in paragraph 33 of and Annex E to the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration (WT/MIN(05)/DEC).

2.      Assistance and support for capacity building[1] should be provided to help developing and least-developed country Members implement the provisions of this Agreement, in accordance with their nature and scope. The extent and the timing of implementation of the provisions of this Agreement shall be related to the implementation capacities of developing and least-developed country Members. Where a developing or least-developed country Member continues to lack the necessary capacity, implementation of the provision(s) concerned will not be required until implementation capacity has been acquired.

3.       Least-developed country Members will only be required to undertake commitments to the extent consistent with their individual development, financial and trade needs or their administrative and institutional capabilities.

4.       These principles shall be applied through the provisions set out in Section II.

 


[1] For the purposes of this Agreement, "assistance and support for capacity building" may take the form of technical, financial, or any other mutually agreed form of assistance provided.

14 Categories of Provisions

Legal Text

1.         There are three categories of provisions:

(a)     Category A contains provisions that a developing country Member or a least-developed country Member designates for implementation upon entry into force of this Agreement, or in the case of a least-developed country Member within one year after entry into force, as provided in Article 15.

(b)     Category B contains provisions that a developing country Member or a least-developed country Member designates for implementation on a date after a transitional period of time following the entry into force of this Agreement, as provided in Article 16.

(c)     Category C contains provisions that a developing country Member or a least-developed country Member designates for implementation on a date after a transitional period of time following the entry into force of this Agreement and requiring the acquisition of implementation capacity through the provision of assistance and support for capacity building, as provided for in Article 16.

2.         Each developing country and least-developed country Member shall self-designate, on an individual basis, the provisions it is including under each of the Categories A, B and C.

15 Notification and Implementation of Category A

Legal Text

1.         Upon entry into force of this Agreement, each developing country Member shall implement its Category A commitments. Those commitments designated under Category A will thereby be made an integral part of this Agreement.

2.         A least-developed country Member may notify the Committee of the provisions it has designated in Category A for up to one year after entry into force of this Agreement. Each least-developed country Member's commitments designated under Category A will thereby be made an integral part of this Agreement.

16 Notification of definitive dates for implementation of Category B and Category C

Legal Text

1.         With respect to the provisions that a developing country Member has not designated in Category A, the Member may delay implementation in accordance with the process set out in this Article.

Developing Country Member Category B

(a) Upon entry into force of this Agreement, each developing country Member shall notify the Committee of the provisions that it has designated in Category B and their corresponding indicative dates for implementation.[1]

(b) No later than one year after entry into force of this Agreement, each developing country Member shall notify the Committee of its definitive dates for implementation of the provisions it has designated in Category B. If a developing country Member, before this deadline, believes it requires additional time to notify its definitive dates, the Member may request that the Committee extend the period sufficient to notify its dates.

Developing Country Member Category C

(c) Upon entry into force of this Agreement, each developing country Member shall notify the Committee of the provisions that it has designated in Category C and their corresponding indicative dates for implementation. For transparency purposes, notifications submitted shall include information on the assistance and support for capacity building that the Member requires in order to implement.[2]

(d) Within one year after entry into force of this Agreement, developing country Members and relevant donor Members, taking into account any existing arrangements already in place, notifications pursuant to paragraph 1 of Article 22 and information submitted pursuant to subparagraph (c) above, shall provide information to the Committee on the arrangements maintained or entered into that are necessary to provide assistance and support for capacity building to enable implementation of Category C.[3] The participating developing country Member shall promptly inform the Committee of such arrangements. The Committee shall also invite non-Member donors to provide information on existing or concluded arrangements.

(e)     Within 18 months from the date of the provision of the information stipulated in subparagraph (d), donor Members and respective developing country Members shall inform the Committee of the progress in the provision of assistance and support for capacity building. Each developing country Member shall, at the same time, notify its list of definitive dates for implementation.

2.       With respect to those provisions that a least-developed country Member has not designated under Category A, least-developed country Members may delay implementation in accordance with the process set forth in this Article.

Least-Developed Country Member Category B

(a)     No later than one year after entry into force of this Agreement, a least-developed country Member shall notify the Committee of its Category B provisions and may notify their corresponding indicative dates for implementation of these provisions, taking into account maximum flexibilities for least-developed country Members.

(b)     No later than two years after the notification date stipulated under subparagraph (a) above, each least-developed country Member shall notify the Committee to confirm designations of provisions and notify its dates for implementation. If a least-developed country Member, before this deadline, believes it requires additional time to notify its definitive dates, the Member may request that the Committee extend the period sufficiently to notify its dates.

Least-Developed Country Member Category C

(c)     For transparency purposes and to facilitate arrangements with donors, one year after entry into force of this Agreement, each least-developed country Member shall notify the Committee of the provisions it has designated in Category C, taking into account maximum flexibilities for least-developed country Members.

(d) One year after the date stipulated in subparagraph (c) above, least-developed country Members shall notify information on assistance and support for capacity building that the Member requires in order to implement.[4]

(e) No later than two years after the notification under subparagraph (d) above, least-developed country Members and relevant donor Members, taking into account information submitted pursuant to subparagraph (d) above, shall provide information to the Committee on the arrangements maintained or entered into that are necessary to provide assistance and support for capacity building to enable implementation of Category C.[5] The participating least-developed country Member shall promptly inform the Committee of such arrangements. The least-developed country Member shall, at the same time, notify indicative dates for implementation of corresponding Category C commitments covered by the assistance and support arrangements. The Committee shall also invite non-Member donors to provide information on existing and concluded arrangements.

(f) No later than 18 months from the date of the provision of the information stipulated in subparagraph (e), relevant donor Members and respective least-developed country Members shall inform the Committee of the progress in the provision of assistance and support for capacity building. Each least-developed country Member shall, at the same time, notify the Committee of its list of definitive dates for implementation.

3.       Developing country Members and least-developed country Members experiencing difficulties in submitting definitive dates for implementation within the deadlines set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 because of the lack of donor support or lack of progress in the provision of assistance and support for capacity building should notify the Committee as early as possible prior to the expiration of those deadlines. Members agree to cooperate to assist in addressing such difficulties, taking into account the particular circumstances and special problems facing the Member concerned. The Committee shall, as appropriate, take action to address the difficulties including, where necessary, by extending the deadlines for the Member concerned to notify its definitive dates.

4.       Three months before the deadline stipulated in subparagraphs 1(b) or (e), or in the case of a least-developed country Member, subparagraphs 2(b) or (f), the Secretariat shall remind a Member if that Member has not notified a definitive date for implementation of provisions that it has designated in Category B or C. If the Member does not invoke paragraph 3, or in the case of a developing country Member subparagraph 1(b), or in the case of a least-developed country Member subparagraph 2(b), to extend the deadline and still does not notify a definitive date for implementation, the Member shall implement the provisions within one year after the deadline stipulated in subparagraphs 1(b) or (e), or in the case of a least-developed country Member, subparagraphs 2(b) or (f), or extended by paragraph 3.

5.        No later than 60 days after the dates for notification of definitive dates for implementation of Category B and Category C provisions in accordance with paragraphs 1, 2, or 3, the Committee shall take note of the annexes containing each Member's definitive dates for implementation of Category B and Category C provisions, including any dates set under paragraph 4, thereby making these annexes an integral part of this Agreement.

 


[1] Notifications submitted may also include such further information as the notifying Member deems appropriate. Members are encouraged to provide information on the domestic agency or entity responsible for implementation.

[2] Members may also include information on national trade facilitation implementation plans or projects, the domestic agency or entity responsible for implementation, and the donors with which the Member may have an arrangement in place to provide assistance.

[3] Such arrangements will be on mutually agreed terms, either bilaterally or through appropriate international organizations, consistent with paragraph 3 of Article 21.

[4] Members may also include information on national trade facilitation implementation plans or projects, the domestic agency or entity responsible for implementation, and the donors with which the Member may have an arrangement in place to provide assistance.

[5] Such arrangements will be on mutually agreed terms, either bilaterally or through appropriate international organizations, consistent with paragraph 3 of Article 21.

17 Early warning mechanism: extension of implementation dates for Provisions in Categories B and C

Legal Text

1.

(a)     A developing country Member or least-developed country Member that considers itself to be experiencing difficulty in implementing a provision that it has designated in Category B or Category C by the definitive date established under subparagraphs 1(b) or (e) of Article 16, or in the case of a least-developed country Member subparagraphs 2(b) or (f) of Article 16, should notify the Committee. Developing country Members shall notify the Committee no later than 120 days before the expiration of the implementation date. Least-developed country Members shall notify the Committee no later than 90 days before such date.

(b)     The notification to the Committee shall indicate the new date by which the developing country Member or least-developed country Member expects to be able to implement the provision concerned. The notification shall also indicate the reasons for the expected delay in implementation. Such reasons may include the need for assistance and support for capacity building not earlier anticipated or additional assistance and support to help build capacity.

2.        Where a developing country Member's request for additional time for implementation does not exceed 18 months or a least-developed country Member's request for additional time does not exceed 3 years, the requesting Member is entitled to such additional time without any further action by the Committee.

3.        Where a developing country or least-developed country Member considers that it requires a first extension longer than that provided for in paragraph 2 or a second or any subsequent extension, it shall submit to the Committee a request for an extension containing the information described in subparagraph 1(b) no later than 120 days in respect of a developing country Member and 90 days in respect of a least-developed country Member before the expiration of the original definitive implementation date or that date as subsequently extended.

4.        The Committee shall give sympathetic consideration to granting requests for extension taking into account the specific circumstances of the Member submitting the request. These circumstances may include difficulties and delays in obtaining assistance and support for capacity building.

18 Implementation of Category B and Category C

Legal Text

1.         In accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 13, if a developing country Member or a least-developed country Member, having fulfilled the procedures set forth in paragraphs 1 or 2 of Article 16 and in Article 17, and where an extension requested has not been granted or where the developing country Member or least-developed country Member otherwise experiences unforeseen circumstances that prevent an extension being granted under Article 17, self-assesses that its capacity to implement a provision under Category C continues to be lacking, that Member shall notify the Committee of its inability to implement the relevant provision.

2.         The Committee shall establish an Expert Group immediately, and in any case no later than 60 days after the Committee receives the notification from the relevant developing country Member or least-developed country Member. The Expert Group will examine the issue and make a recommendation to the Committee within 120 days of its composition.

3.         The Expert Group shall be composed of five independent persons that are highly qualified in the fields of trade facilitation and assistance and support for capacity building. The composition of the Expert Group shall ensure balance between nationals from developing and developed country Members. Where a least-developed country Member is involved, the Expert Group shall include at least one national from a least-developed country Member. If the Committee cannot agree on the composition of the Expert Group within 20 days of its establishment, the Director-General, in consultation with the chair of the Committee, shall determine the composition of the Expert Group in accordance with the terms of this paragraph.

4.         The Expert Group shall consider the Member's self-assessment of lack of capacity and shall make a recommendation to the Committee. When considering the Expert Group's recommendation concerning a least-developed country Member, the Committee shall, as appropriate, take action that will facilitate the acquisition of sustainable implementation capacity.

5.         The Member shall not be subject to proceedings under the Dispute Settlement Understanding on this issue from the time the developing country Member notifies the Committee of its inability to implement the relevant provision until the first meeting of the Committee after it receives the recommendation of the Expert Group. At that meeting, the Committee shall consider the recommendation of the Expert Group. For a least-developed country Member, the proceedings under the Dispute Settlement Understanding shall not apply to the respective provision from the date of notification to the Committee of its inability to implement the provision until the Committee makes a decision on the issue, or within 24 months after the date of the first Committee meeting set out above, whichever is earlier.

6.         Where a least-developed country Member loses its ability to implement a Category C commitment, it may inform the Committee and follow the procedures set out in this Article.

19 Shifting between Categories B and C

Legal Text

1.     Developing country Members and least-developed country Members who have notified provisions under Categories B and C may shift provisions between such categories through the submission of a notification to the Committee.  Where a Member proposes to shift a provision from Category B to Category C, the Member shall provide information on the assistance and support required to build capacity.

2.       In the event that additional time is required to implement a provision shifted from Category B to Category C, the Member may:

(a)     use the provisions of Article 17, including the opportunity for an automatic extension; or

(b)     request an examination by the Committee of the Member's request for extra time to implement the provision and, if necessary, for assistance and support for capacity building, including the possibility of a review and recommendation by the Expert Group under Article 18; or

(c)     in the case of a least-developed country Member, any new implementation date of more than four years after the original date notified under Category B shall require approval by the Committee. In addition, a least-developed country Member shall continue to have recourse to Article 17. It is understood that assistance and support for capacity building is required for a least-developed country Member so shifting.

20 Grace period for the application of the understanding on Rules and Procedures governing the settlement of disputes

Legal Text

1.         For a period of two years after entry into force of this Agreement, the provisions of Articles XXII and XXIII of GATT 1994 as elaborated and applied by the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes shall not apply to the settlement of disputes against a developing country Member concerning any provision that the Member has designated in Category A.

2.         For a period of six years after entry into force of this Agreement, the provisions of Articles XXII and XXIII of GATT 1994 as elaborated and applied by the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes shall not apply to the settlement of disputes against a least-developed country Member concerning any provision that the Member has designated in Category A.

3.         For a period of eight years after implementation of a provision under Category B or C by a least-developed country Member, the provisions of Articles XXII and XXIII of GATT 1994 as elaborated and applied by the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes shall not apply to the settlement of disputes against that least-developed country Member concerning that provision.

4.         Notwithstanding the grace period for the application of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes, before making a request for consultations pursuant to Articles XXII or XXIII of GATT 1994, and at all stages of dispute settlement procedures with regard to a measure of a least-developed country Member, a Member shall give particular consideration to the special situation of least-developed country Members. In this regard, Members shall exercise due restraint in raising matters under the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes involving least-developed country Members.

5.         Each Member shall, upon request, during the grace period allowed under this Article, provide adequate opportunity to other Members for discussion with respect to any issue relating to the implementation of this Agreement.

21 Provision of assistance and support for capacity building

Legal Text

1.   Donor Members agree to facilitate the provision of assistance and support for capacity building to developing country and least-developed country Members on mutually agreed terms either bilaterally or through the appropriate international organizations. The objective is to assist developing country and least-developed country Members to implement the provisions of Section I of this Agreement.

2.   Given the special needs of least-developed country Members, targeted assistance and support should be provided to the least-developed country Members so as to help them build sustainable capacity to implement their commitments. Through the relevant development cooperation mechanisms and consistent with the principles of technical assistance and support for capacity building as referred to in paragraph 3, development partners shall endeavour to provide assistance and support for capacity building in this area in a way that does not compromise existing development priorities.

3.   Members shall endeavour to apply the following principles for providing assistance and support for capacity building with regard to the implementation of this Agreement:

(a)   take account of the overall developmental framework of recipient countries and regions and, where relevant and appropriate, ongoing reform and technical assistance programs;

(b)   include, where relevant and appropriate, activities to address regional and sub-regional challenges and promote regional and sub-regional integration;

(c)  ensure that ongoing trade facilitation reform activities of the private sector are factored into assistance activities;

(d)   promote coordination between and among Members and other relevant institutions, including regional economic communities, to ensure maximum effectiveness of and results from this assistance. To this end:

(i)   coordination, primarily in the country or region where the assistance is to be provided, between partner Members and donors and among bilateral and multilateral donors should aim to avoid overlap and duplication in assistance programs and inconsistencies in reform activities through close coordination of technical assistance and capacity building interventions;

(ii)   for least-developed country Members, the Enhanced Integrated Framework for trade-related assistance for the least-developed countries should be a part of this coordination process; and

(iii)   Members should also promote internal coordination between their       trade and development officials, both in capitals and in Geneva, in the implementation of this Agreement and technical assistance.

(e)   encourage use of existing in-country and regional coordination structures such as roundtables and consultative groups to coordinate and monitor implementation activities; and

(f)      encourage developing country Members to provide capacity building to other developing and least-developed country Members and consider supporting such activities, where possible.

4.      The Committee shall hold at least one dedicated session per year to:

(a)     discuss any problems regarding implementation of provisions or sub-parts        of provisions of this Agreement;

(b)     review progress in the provision of assistance and support for capacity building to support the implementation of the Agreement, including any developing or least-developed country Members not receiving adequate assistance and support for capacity building;

(c)     share experiences and information on ongoing assistance and support for capacity building and implementation programs, including challenges and successes;

(d)     review donor notifications as set forth in Article 22; and

(e)     review the operation of paragraph 2.

22 Information on Assistance and Support for capacity building to be submitted to the Committee

Legal Text

1.       To provide transparency to developing  country Members and least-developed country Members on the provision of assistance and support for capacity building for implementation of Section I, each donor Member assisting developing country Members and least-developed country Members with the implementation of this Agreement shall submit to the Committee, at entry into force of this Agreement and annually thereafter, the following information on its assistance and support for capacity building that was disbursed in the preceding 12 months and, where available, that is committed in the next 12 months[1]:

(a) a description of the assistance and support for capacity building;

(b) the status and amount committed/disbursed;

(c)  procedures for disbursement of the assistance and support;

(d) the beneficiary Member or, where necessary, the region; and
 
(e)  the implementing agency in the Member providing assistance and support.

The information shall be provided in the format specified in Annex 1. In the case of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (referred to in this Agreement as the “OECD”) Members, the information submitted can be based on relevant information from the OECD Creditor Reporting System. Developing country Members declaring themselves in a position to provide assistance and support for capacity building are encouraged to provide the information above.

2.      Donor Members assisting developing country Members and least-developed country Members shall submit to the Committee:

(a) contact points of their agencies responsible for providing assistance and support for capacity building related to the implementation of Section I of this Agreement including, where practicable, information on such contact points within the country or region where the assistance and support is to be provided; and

(b) information on the process and mechanisms for requesting assistance and support for capacity building.

Developing country Members declaring themselves in a position to provide assistance and support are encouraged to provide the information above.

3.    Developing country Members and least-developed country Members intending to avail themselves of trade facilitation-related assistance and support for capacity building shall submit to the Committee information on contact point(s) of the office(s) responsible for coordinating and prioritizing such assistance and support.

4.      Members may provide the information referred to in paragraphs 2 and 3 through internet references and shall update the information as necessary. The Secretariat shall make all such information publicly available.

5.     The Committee shall invite relevant international and regional organizations (such as the International Monetary Fund, the OECD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the WCO, United Nations Regional Commissions, the World Bank, or their subsidiary bodies, and regional development banks) and other agencies of cooperation to provide information referred to in paragraphs 1, 2, and 4.

 


[1] The information provided will reflect the demand driven nature of the provision of assistance and support for capacity building.

Annex 1

Annex 1: Format for notification under paragraph 1 of Article 22

Donor Member:

Period covered by the notification

 

 

 

Description of the technical and financial assistance and capacity building resources

Status and amount committed/disbursed

Beneficiary country/ Region (where necessary)

The implementing agency in the Member providing assistance

Procedures for disbursement of the assistance

 

Section III contains provisions that establish a permanent committee on trade facilitation at the WTO, and require members to have a national committee to facilitate domestic coordination and implementation of the provisions of the Agreement. It also sets out a few final provisions. 

More information for each provision can be found below (click arrow to open)

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Agreement Section 3 Icon
Institutional Arrangements and final Provisions

23 Institutional arrangements

Article Resources

GENERAL GUIDELINES

CAM- Cooperation and Collaboration in the Dutch National Trade Facilitation Committee 

COMCEC - Establishing Well Functioning National Trade Facilitation Bodies (NTFBs) in the OIC Member States (2015)

STDF - National SPS Coordination Mechanisms  (2012)

TFAF- National Committees on Trade Facilitation: Current practices and challenges (2016)

UNCTAD, UNECE and ITC - Repository of National Trade Facilitation Bodies (2018)

UNECE - Public-Private Partnerships in Trade Facilitation.  Recommendation 41 (2017)

UNECE - Consultation Approaches: Best Practices in Trade and Government Consultation on Trade Facilitation Matters.Recommendation No. 40 (2015)

UNECE - National Trade Facilitation Bodies. Recommendation No. 4 (2015)

UNECE - Guide to Drafting a National Trade Facilitation Roadmap (2015)

UNECE - Roadmap Methodology for NTFCs  (2016)

UNCTAD - National Trade Facilitation Bodies in the world  (2014)

UNCTAD - What is a TF roadmap and what it is not a TF roadmap 

UNCTAD - A National Roadmap for WTO TFA Implementation-CARICOM  (2019)

UNCTAD Article on NTFCs and COVID-19 (2020)

WCO- National Commitees on Trade Facilitation Guide (2018)

WTO- Members share experiences on National Trade Facilitation Committees- Workshop Presentations and Documents (2016)

CASE STUDIES AND COUNTRY SPECIFIC INITIATIVES

Albania- Trade facilitation agreement and National Committee for trade facilitation  (2016)

Antigua and Barbuda- NTFC Experience- CARICOM (2019)

Antigua and Barbuda- The Trade Facilitation Agreement- CARICOM (2019)

Barbados- NTFC Experience- CARICOM (2019)

Belize- NTFC Experience- CARICOM (2019)

Botswana- Technical Committee on Trade Facilitation  (2016)

Botswana- National Commitee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

Brazil- National Trade Facilitation Committee's Mandate - A perspective from the Brazilian experience  (2016)

Brazil - National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2016)

Canada - National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

CARICOM - The CARICOM Strategy for Regional implementation of the TFA- CARICOM  (2019)

China - Implementation of WTO TFA China Customs (2018)

Costa Rica- NCTF - Defining an institutional framework: the case of Costa Rica  (2016)

Dominica- NTFC Experience- CARICOM (2019)

El Salvador - Advances in Trade Facilitation (2019)

Eswatini- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

GEA- TFA Implementation: Benefits, Priorities and Monitoring- CARICOM (2019)

Grenada- NTFC Experience- CARICOM (2019)

Guyana- How to ensure the proper functioning and long term adaptability of the national committee  (2016)

Guyana- Guyana's Trade Facilitation Agreement Experience- CARICOM  (2019)

Ghana- Strategies for defining a roadmap for the NCTF - The Ghana experience  (2016)

India- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

Israel- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

Italy- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

Jamaica - Trade Facilitation Task Force - Smart Lessons Case Study Competition Finalist (2017)

Jamaica- The Case of Jamaica's Trade Facilitation Task Force  (2016)

Kenya- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

Lao PDR- Maintaining a NCTF (2016)

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - TFA Implementation (2018)

Paraguay- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2019)

Republic of Moldova - Action plan  (2018)

Malawi- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

Mauritius- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

Montenegro - National Trade Facilitation Committee: Lessons Learned - Smart Lessons Case Study Competition Finalist (2017)

Montenegro - National Trade Facilitation Committee (2019)

Nigeria - Presentation on National trade Facilitation Committee in Nigeria (2016)

Nigeria- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

Nigeria and Sri Lanka- WCO - National Committees on Trade Facilitation (2016)

Norway- National Trade Facilitation Commitee (2019)

OECS- Regional Perspectives on Trade Facilitation- CARICOM (2019)

Oman- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

Pakistan- National Trade and Transport Facilitation Committee (NTTFC) in Pakistan  (2016)

Pakistan UNECE - Case Study 

Mauritius- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

Sri Lanka- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

St. Kitts & Nevis- NTFC- CARICOM  (2019)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Trade Facilitation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines  (2016)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines - NTFC- CARICOM  (2019)

Suriname-NTFC- CARICOM (2019)

Sweden - How to ensure the power functioning and long-term adaptability - Swedish Experiences  (2016)

Trinidad & Tobago-NTFC- Status, Lessons learned and best practices- CARICOM (2019)

Trinidad & Tobago-NTFC- Strategies for defining a roadmap for the National Commitee- CARICOM (2019)

Turkey - NTFC Experience  (2018)

Uganda National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF): Mandate and Areas of Work  (2016)

United Arab Emirates- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

United States - Structure and role of the US National Trade Facilitation Committee  (2018)

United States- National Committee on Trade Facilitation (2018)

Vanuatu - Experience Sharing on Establishing and Maintaining National Committee on Trade Facilitation in Vanuatu (2016)

Viet Nam Defining an institutional framework - Viet Nam  (2016)

WCO-Tools for Effective Implementation- CARICOM (2019)

Legal Text

1.  Committee on Trade Facilitation

1.1       A Committee on Trade Facilitation is hereby established.

1.2       The Committee shall be open for participation by all Members and shall elect its own Chairperson. The Committee shall meet as needed and envisaged by the relevant provisions of this Agreement, but no less than once a year, for the purpose of affording Members the opportunity to consult on any matters related to the operation of this Agreement or the furtherance of its objectives. The Committee shall carry out such responsibilities as assigned to it under this Agreement or by the Members. The Committee shall establish its own rules of procedure.

1.3       The Committee may establish such subsidiary bodies as may be required. All such bodies shall report to the Committee.

1.4       The Committee shall develop procedures for the sharing by Members of relevant information and best practices as appropriate.

1.5       The Committee shall maintain close contact with other international organizations in the field of trade facilitation, such as the WCO, with the objective of securing the best available advice for the implementation and administration of this Agreement and in order to ensure that unnecessary duplication of effort is avoided. To this end, the Committee may invite representatives of such organizations or their subsidiary bodies to:

(a)          attend meetings of the Committee; and

(b)          discuss specific matters related to the implementation of this Agreement.

1.6       The Committee shall review the operation and implementation of this Agreement four years from its entry into force, and periodically thereafter.

1.7       Members are encouraged to raise before the Committee questions relating to issues on the implementation and application of this Agreement.

1.8       The Committee shall encourage and facilitate ad hoc discussions among Members on specific issues under this Agreement with a view to reaching a mutually satisfactory solution promptly.

2.  National Committee on Trade Facilitation

Each Member shall establish and/or maintain a national committee on trade facilitation or designate an existing mechanism to facilitate both domestic coordination and implementation of the provisions of this Agreement.

24 Final provisions

Legal Text

1.         For the purpose of this Agreement, the term "Member" is deemed to include the competent authority of that Member.

2.         All provisions of this Agreement are binding on all Members.

3.         Members shall implement this Agreement from the date of its entry into force. Developing country Members and least-developed country Members that choose to use the provisions of Section II shall implement this Agreement in accordance with Section II.

4.         A Member which accepts this Agreement after its entry into force shall implement its Category B and C commitments counting the relevant periods from the date this Agreement enters into force.

5.         Members of a customs union or a regional economic arrangement may adopt regional approaches to assist in the implementation of their obligations under this Agreement including through the establishment and use of regional bodies.

6.         Notwithstanding the general interpretative note to Annex 1A to the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as diminishing the obligations of Members under the GATT 1994.  In addition, nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as diminishing the rights and obligations of Members under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

7.         All exceptions and exemptions[1] under the GATT 1994 shall apply to the provisions of this Agreement. Waivers applicable to the GATT 1994 or any part thereof, granted according to Article IX:3 and Article IX:4 of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and any amendments thereto as of the date of entry into force of this Agreement, shall apply to the provisions of this Agreement.

8.         The provisions of Articles XXII and XXIII of GATT 1994 as elaborated and applied by the Dispute Settlement Understanding shall apply to consultations and the settlement of disputes under this Agreement, except as otherwise specifically provided for in this Agreement.

9.         Reservations may not be entered in respect of any of the provisions of this Agreement without the consent of the other Members.

10.       The Category A commitments of developing country Members and least-developed country Members annexed to this Agreement in accordance with paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 15 shall constitute an integral part of this Agreement.

11.       The Category B and C commitments of developing country Members and least-developed country Members taken note of by the Committee and annexed to this Agreement pursuant to paragraph 5 of Article 16 shall constitute an integral part of this Agreement.


[1] This includes Articles V:7 and X:1 of the GATT 1994 and the Ad note to Article VIII of the GATT 1994.