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  • Overview

    The TFA requires the publication of information on fees and charges imposed on or in connection with importation and exportation. Members should also review fees and charges periodically with a view to reducing their number and diversity.

    Several RKC standards stipulate that fees and charges shall be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

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    WTO TFA

    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.

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    Revised kyoto convention

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

    Chapter 3 of the General Annex to the Revised Kyoto Convention sets standards on fees and charges for additional Customs services.  Standard 3.2 stipulates that such charges can be levied, but that they must be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

    3.2. Standard

    At the request of the person concerned and for reasons deemed valid by the Customs, the latter shall, subject to the availability of resources, perform the functions laid down for the purposes of a Customs procedure and practice outside the designated hours of business or away from Customs offices. Any expenses chargeable by the Customs shall be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

    RKC Guidelines on RKC General Annex  - Chapter 3  (download)

    General Annex - Chapter 9 (Information, Decisions and Rulings Supplied by the Customs)

    Chapter 9 of the General Annex also stipulates that any charges shall be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

    9.7. Standard

    When the Customs cannot supply information free of charge, any charge shall be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

    RKC Guidelines on RKC General Annex  - Chapter 9  (download)

    Specific Annex A - Chapter 1 (Formalities prior to the lodgement of the Goods declaration)

    Chapter 1 of Specific Annex A stipulates that expenses chargeable by Customs shall be limited to the cost of the services rendered.

    19. Standard

    Any expenses chargeable by the Customs in connection with :

    - accomplishment of Customs formalities prior to the lodgement of the Goods declaration outside the designated hours of business of the Customs;

    - unloading goods at a place other than the one approved for unloading; or

    - unloading goods outside the designated hours of business of the Customs, shall be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

    RKC Guidelines on RKC Specific Annex A - Chapter 1  (download)

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    Other WCO Tools

    Revised Arusha Declaration (download)

    The Declaration is the focal point of the WCO’s anti-corruption and integrity development effort.  It contains specific elements that are designed to improve the efficiency of Member administrations and reduce or eliminate opportunities for corruption.

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    Members Practices

    Work in Progress

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you review fees and charges periodically?

     

    Quantitative indicators

    • Average cycle of the review

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  • Overview

    The TFA foresees that the amount of fees and charges for customs processing shall be limited in amount to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

    Several RKC standards stipulate that fees and charges shall be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

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    WTO TFA

    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.

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    Revised kyoto convention

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

    Chapter 3 of the General Annex to the Revised Kyoto Convention sets standards on fees and charges for additional Customs services.  Standard 3.2 stipulates that such charges can be levied, but that they must be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

    3.2. Standard

    At the request of the person concerned and for reasons deemed valid by the Customs, the latter shall, subject to the availability of resources, perform the functions laid down for the purposes of a Customs procedure and practice outside the designated hours of business or away from Customs offices. Any expenses chargeable by the Customs shall be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

    3.45. Transitional Standard

    When the Customs sell goods which have not been declared within the time allowed or could not be released although no offence has been discovered, the proceeds of the sale, after deduction of any duties and taxes and all other charges and expenses incurred, shall be made over to those persons entitled to receive them or, when this is not possible, held at their disposal for a specified period.

    RKC Guidelines on RKC General Annex  - Chapter 3  (download)

    General Annex - Chapter 9 (Information, Decisions and Rulings Supplied by the Customs)

    Chapter 9 of the General Annex also stipulates that any charges shall be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

    9.7. Standard

    When the Customs cannot supply information free of charge, any charge shall be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

    RKC Guidelines on RKC General Annex  - Chapter 9  (download)

    Specific Annex A - Chapter 1 (Formalities prior to the lodgement of the Goods declaration)

    Chapter 1 of Specific Annex A stipulates that expenses chargeable by Customs shall be limited to the cost of the services rendered.

    19. Standard

    Any expenses chargeable by the Customs in connection with :

    - accomplishment of Customs formalities prior to the lodgement of the Goods declaration outside the designated hours of business of the Customs;

    - unloading goods at a place other than the one approved for unloading; or

    - unloading goods outside the designated hours of business of the Customs, shall be limited to the approximate cost of the services rendered.

    RKC Guidelines on RKC Specific Annex A - Chapter 1  (download)

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    Other WCO Tools

    Revised Arusha Declaration (download)

    The Declaration is the focal point of the WCO’s anti-corruption and integrity development effort.  It contains specific elements that are designed to improve the efficiency of Member administrations and reduce or eliminate opportunities for corruption.

    print this item

    Member Practices

    Work in progress

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you limit fees and charges to the approximate cost of services rendered?

     

    Quantitative indicators

    • No. of kinds of fees and charges limited to the cost of services rendered, which are collected by the Customs administration

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  • Overview

    According to the TFA provisions, Members may impose penalties only on the person(s) responsible for the breach of a Customs law, regulation or procedures requirement.  Members are also required to ensure that the penalty depends on the facts and circumstances of the case and is commensurate with the degree and severity of the breach.  The TFA encourages Members to consider voluntary disclosure as a potential mitigating factor when establishing a penalty.

    Chapter 3 of the RKC General Annex contains several standards relating to Customs offences and errors. In addition, Chapter 1 of Specific Annex H deals with the investigation and establishment of breaches of Customs law and with the administrative settlement of offences by Customs. The Chapter sets standards which aim to combine the adequate investigation of Customs offences with minimal disruption of trade.

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    WTO TFA

    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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    Revised kyoto convention

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

    Chapter 3 of the General Annex contains several standards relating to Customs offences and errors.  During the process of supplying information to Customs by means of a Goods declaration, supporting documents, a cargo declaration or any other means, it is always possible that errors may occur.  When errors in the information supplied are accidental, and are not made on a regular basis, Customs may normally give the declarant an opportunity to correct the mistake and will not take further action such as imposing a penalty.

    When an offence is detected, a considerable time may elapse before the administrative or legal procedure is completed. It is often not beneficial to Customs or to the trade to delay the release of the goods until a final decision has been taken on the offence.  Standard 3.43 provides for Customs to release the goods under certain conditions and take adequate security to ensure the payment of any additional duties and taxes or any penalties that may be imposed once the administrative or legal procedure is completed.

    3.39. Standard

    The Customs shall not impose substantial penalties for errors where they are satisfied that such errors are inadvertent and that there has been no fraudulent intent or gross negligence. Where they consider it necessary to discourage a repetition of such errors, a penalty may be imposed but shall be no greater than is necessary for this purpose.

    3.43. Standard

    When an offence has been detected, the Customs shall not wait for the completion of administrative or legal action before they release the goods, provided that the goods are not liable to confiscation or forfeiture or to be needed as evidence at some later stage and that the declarant pays the duties and taxes and furnishes security to ensure collection of any additional duties and taxes and of any penalties which may be imposed.

    RKC Guidelines on RKC General Annex  - Chapter 3  (download)

    Specific Annex H - Chapter 1 (Customs Offences)

    The primary task of Customs is to ensure compliance with Customs law. To assist in dealing with Customs offences or suspected offences, it is necessary that Customs have powers to investigate and, where appropriate, to impose sanctions against those who are not in compliance.  Chapter 1 of Specific Annex H deals with the investigation and establishment of breaches of Customs law and with the administrative settlement of offences by Customs. The repression of Customs offences, by the application of suitable penalties, is also addressed but only to the extent that it falls within the competence of Customs.

    This Chapter sets standards which aim to combine the adequate investigation of Customs offences with minimal disruption of trade. This is because long and costly criminal proceedings as a reaction to frequently occurring minor irregularities may impose disproportionate burdens on trade. Similarly, severe penalties for minor breaches of Customs law are inappropriate.

    19. Standard

    The Customs shall take the necessary measures to ensure, where applicable, that as soon as possible after a Customs offence is discovered :

        - the administrative settlement of the latter is initiated; and

        - the person concerned is informed about the terms and conditions of the settlement, the avenues of appeal and the time limits for such appeals.

    20. Recommended Practice

    Where during clearance of the goods a Customs offence has been discovered which is regarded as of minor importance, it should be possible for the offence to be settled by the Customs office which discovers it.

    21. Recommended Practice

    Where a traveller is regarded as having committed a Customs offence of minor importance, it should be possible for the offence to be settled without delay by the Customs office which discovers it.

    22. Standard

    National legislation shall lay down the penalties applicable to each category of Customs offence that can be dealt with by administrative settlement and shall designate the Customs offices competent to apply them.

    23. Standard

    The severity or the amount of any penalties applied in an administrative settlement of a Customs offence shall depend upon the seriousness or importance of the Customs offence committed and the record of the person concerned in his dealings with the Customs.

    24. Standard

    Where untrue particulars are furnished in a Goods declaration and the declarant can show that all reasonable steps had been taken to provide accurate and correct information, the Customs shall take that factor into account in considering the imposition of any penalty.

    25. Standard

    Where a Customs offence occurs as a result of force majeure or other circumstances beyond the control of the person concerned and there is no question of negligence or fraudulent intent on his part, no penalty shall be applied provided that the facts are duly established to the satisfaction of the Customs.

    RKC Guidelines on RKC Specific Annex H - Chapter 1  (download)

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    Other WCO Tools

    Voluntary Compliance Framework (download)

    The Voluntary Disclosure Programmes (VDP) give clients a chance to correct inaccurate or incomplete information or to disclose information that clients have not reported during previous dealings with Customs authorities, without penalties in the appropriate circumstances.

    The VCF will help traders comply voluntarily and correctly with Customs law, regulations or requirements. This will also reduce Customs burdens like inspection and efforts for improving data quality. As a result of this, all Customs procedures will be more effective, more efficient and more transparent.

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    Member Practices

    Voluntary Disclosure Programmes of Member Countries – Singapore, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, and United States (download)

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Does your Customs administration have the legal authority to impose penalties for a breach of Customs laws and regulations?
    • Do you have legislation that encourages voluntary disclosure?

     

    Quantitative indicators

    • No. of cases involving penalties imposed by the Customs administration per year
    • No. of cases involving voluntary disclosure per year

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