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  • Overview

    The TFA requires the regular review of formalities and documentation requirements, with a view to minimizing the incidence and complexity of import, export and transit formalities and simplifying their documentation requirements.  Members should also ensure that such formalities and documentation requirements are as fast and efficient as possible.

    Chapter 3 of the General Annex to the Revised Kyoto Convention sets a series of standards on the clearance of goods and other Customs formalities.

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    WTO TFA

    1.1. With a view to minimizing the incidence and complexity of import, export, and transit formalities and to 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.

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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 a series of standards on the clearance of goods and other Customs formalities.  The Guidelines to the Chapter provide details of such standards, including establishment of Customs offices, rights and responsibilities of the declarant, the Goods declaration, lodgement and registration of the Goods declaration, and Customs examination and inspection.

    The Goods declaration

    (a) Goods declaration format and contents

    3.11. Standard

    The contents of the Goods declaration shall be prescribed by the Customs. The paper format of the Goods declaration shall conform to the UN-layout key.

    For automated Customs clearance processes, the format of the electronically lodged Goods declaration shall be based on international standards for electronic information exchange as prescribed in the Customs Co-operation Council Recommendations on information technology.

    3.12. Standard

    The Customs shall limit the data required in the Goods declaration to only such particulars as are deemed necessary for the assessment and collection of duties and taxes, the compilation of statistics and the application of Customs law.

    3.13. Standard

    Where, for reasons deemed valid by the Customs, the declarant does not have all the information required to make the Goods declaration, a provisional or incomplete Goods declaration shall be allowed to be lodged, provided that it contains the particulars deemed necessary by the Customs and that the declarant undertakes to complete it within a specified period.

    3.14. Standard

    If the Customs register a provisional or incomplete Goods declaration, the tariff treatment to be accorded to the goods shall not be different from that which would have been accorded had a complete and correct Goods declaration been lodged in the first instance.

    The release of the goods shall not be delayed provided that any security required has been furnished to ensure collection of any applicable duties and taxes.

    3.15. Standard

    The Customs shall require the lodgement of the original Goods declaration and only the minimum number of copies necessary.

    (b) Documents supporting the Goods declaration

    3.16. Standard

    In support of the Goods declaration the Customs shall require only those documents necessary to permit control of the operation and to ensure that all requirements relating to the application of Customs law have been complied with.

    3.17. Standard

    Where certain supporting documents cannot be lodged with the Goods declaration for reasons deemed valid by the Customs, they shall allow production of those documents within a specified period.

    3.18. Transitional Standard

    The Customs shall permit the lodgement of supporting documents by electronic means.

    3.19. Standard

    The Customs shall not require a translation of the particulars of supporting documents except when necessary to permit processing of the Goods declaration

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

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    Other WCO Tools

    Recommendation (2012) on the Dematerialization of Supporting Documents (download)

    The Recommendation recommends that Members identify supporting documents that are normally required to accompany the cargo and goods declaration and examine the need for those documents, with a view to eliminating them.  It also recommends that they discontinue the requirement of presenting supporting documents in hard copy.

    IT Guide for Executives (download)

    The Guide provides information and insights into the strategic management process concerning the use of Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) in Customs. The Guide covers the establishment of electronic declaration system.

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    Members Practices

    Singapore’s approach to streamlining trade documentation (WCO News, October 2014) (download)

    The single administrative document (SAD) (European Union)

    http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/procedural_aspects/general/sad/index_en.htm

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you review formalities and documentation requirements regularly?

    Quantitative indicators

    • Average cycle of the review
    • No. of formalities and documentation requirements

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  • Overview

    Members shall endeavour to accept paper or electronic copies of supporting documents. An original or copy of export declarations will not be required as a requirement for importation.

    Chapter 3 of the General Annex to the Revised Kyoto Convention sets a series of standards on the clearance of goods and other Customs formalities, including standards concerning documents in support of the Goods declaration. The WCO Recommendation on the Dematerialization of Supporting Documents recommends that Members identify the supporting documents normally required to accompany the cargo and Goods declaration, and examine the need for those documents with a view to eliminating them.

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    WTO TFA

    2.1. Each Member shall, where appropriate, endeavour to accept paper or electronic copies of supporting documents required for import, export or 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. 11


    11 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.

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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 a series of standards on the clearance of goods and other Customs formalities.  The Guidelines to the Chapter provide details of such standards, including establishment of Customs offices, rights and responsibilities of the declarant, the Goods declaration, lodgement and registration of the Goods declaration and Customs examination and inspection.

    The Goods declaration

    (a) Goods declaration format and contents

    3.11. Standard

    The contents of the Goods declaration shall be prescribed by the Customs. The paper format of the Goods declaration shall conform to the UN-layout key.

    For automated Customs clearance processes, the format of the electronically lodged Goods declaration shall be based on international standards for electronic information exchange as prescribed in the Customs Co-operation Council Recommendations on information technology.

    3.12. Standard

    The Customs shall limit the data required in the Goods declaration to only such particulars as are deemed necessary for the assessment and collection of duties and taxes, the compilation of statistics and the application of Customs law.

    3.13. Standard

    Where, for reasons deemed valid by the Customs, the declarant does not have all the information required to make the Goods declaration, a provisional or incomplete Goods declaration shall be allowed to be lodged, provided that it contains the particulars deemed necessary by the Customs and that the declarant undertakes to complete it within a specified period.

    3.14. Standard

    If the Customs register a provisional or incomplete Goods declaration, the tariff treatment to be accorded to the goods shall not be different from that which would have been accorded had a complete and correct Goods declaration been lodged in the first instance.

    The release of the goods shall not be delayed provided that any security required has been furnished to ensure collection of any applicable duties and taxes.

    3.15. Standard

    The Customs shall require the lodgement of the original Goods declaration and only the minimum number of copies necessary.

    (b) Documents supporting the Goods declaration

    3.16. Standard

    In support of the Goods declaration the Customs shall require only those documents necessary to permit control of the operation and to ensure that all requirements relating to the application of Customs law have been complied with.

    3.17. Standard

    Where certain supporting documents cannot be lodged with the Goods declaration for reasons deemed valid by the Customs, they shall allow production of those documents within a specified period.

    3.18. Transitional Standard

    The Customs shall permit the lodgement of supporting documents by electronic means.

    3.19. Standard

    The Customs shall not require a translation of the particulars of supporting documents except when necessary to permit processing of the Goods declaration

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

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    Other WCO Tools

    Recommendation (2012) on the Dematerialization of Supporting Documents (download)

    The Recommendation recommends that Members identify supporting documents that are normally required to accompany the cargo and goods declaration and examine the need for those documents, with a view to eliminating them.  It also recommends that they discontinue the requirement of presenting supporting documents in hard copy.

    IT Guide for Executives (download)

    The Guide provides information and insights into the strategic management process concerning the use of Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) in Customs. The Guide covers the establishment of electronic declaration system.

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    Member Practices

    Japan’s experience on supporting documents (Revised Kyoto Convention Management Committee 2013)  (download)

    Singapore’s approach to streamlining trade documentation (WCO News, October 2014) (download)

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you accept electronic copies of supporting documents?

    Quantitative indicators

    • % of kinds of supporting documents that can be submitted by electronic means in terms of total kinds of supporting documents

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  • Overview

    The TFA encourages Members to use relevant international standards as a basis for their importation, exportation or transit formalities and procedures. They are also encouraged to take part in the preparation and periodic review of relevant international standards by appropriate international organizations.

    Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) play an important part in the fulfilment of formalities connected with importation, exportation and transit. The use of International Standards in automating these procedures can potentially bring technological and economic benefits

    The WCO Data Model has been developed using harmonized sets of data requirements drawn from Member Customs administrations and several cross-border regulatory agencies. It is based on widely used and recognized international standards. The WCO has adopted several recommendations that encourage Members to adopt international standards.

    The Revised Kyoto Convention recommends the use of international standards. Standard 3.11 concerns the use of international standards for automated Customs clearance processes, and Standard 7.12 asks Members to use relevant internationally accepted standards for their computer applications.

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    WTO TFA

    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.

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    Revised kyoto convention

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

    Standard 3.11 of the General Annex to the Revised Kyoto Convention requires using international standards for automated Customs clearance processes. 

    3.11. Standard

    The contents of the Goods declaration shall be prescribed by the Customs. The paper format of the Goods declaration shall conform to the UN-layout key.

    For automated Customs clearance processes, the format of the electronically lodged Goods declaration shall be based on international standards for electronic information exchange as prescribed in the Customs Co-operation Council Recommendations on information technology.

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

    General Annex - Chapter 7 (Application of Information Technology)

    The development of Customs/trading partner interfaces and Customs/government administration interfaces can be facilitated by using international standards for information exchange. If trading partners operate the same standards, the software costs associated with electronic information exchange will be considerably reduced. Standard 7.2 of the General Annex to the Revised Kyoto Convention requires using international standards to introduce computer applications.  The ICT Guidelines provide more detailed information to promote the use of international standards in the interchange of electronic data among Customs and their trading partners;

    7.2. Standard

    When introducing computer applications, the Customs shall use relevant internationally accepted standards.

    ICT Guidelines  (download)

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    Other WCO Tools

    WCO Data Model

    The WCO Data Model is a set of carefully combined data requirements that are mutually supportive and updated on a regular basis to meet the procedural and legal needs of cross-border regulatory agencies such as Customs, controlling export, import and transit transactions.

    Data Model Flyer (download)

    Data Model general brochure (download)

    Data Model technical brochure (download)

    WCO Data Model Data Harmonization (download)

    WCO Recommendations

    The following Recommendations request that Members adopt internationally accepted standards such as the WCO Data model, the UNTDED and the UN/EDIFACT.

    Recommendation (2009) concerning the use of the WCO Data Model (download)

    Recommendation (1990) concerning the use of the UNTDED (download)

    Recommendation (1990) concerning the use of UN/EDIFACT (download)

    IT Guide for Executives (download)

    The Guide provides information and insights into the strategic management process concerning the use of Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) in Customs. The Guide encourages Members to ensure that the systems developed are conformant with international standards.

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    Member Practices

    Implementing Single Window in Chile (download)

    Data harmonization for Single Windows: a case study from Oman (WCO News, February 2014) (download)

    New Zealand Single Window opens for business (WCO News, October 2013) (download)

    Nigeria develops an organic National Single Window (WCO News, October 2013) (download)

    EU launches a new Customs Data Model based on WCO standards (WCO News, October 2015) (download)

    Malaysia launches new information system (WCO News, February 2016) (download)

    Implementing the WCO Data Model in Oman (download)

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you use the WCO Data Model for identifying and describing information required in Customs import/export/transit declarations?

    Quantitative indicators

    • % of data elements in Customs import/export/transit declarations conforming to the WCO Data Model

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  • Overview

    The TFA obliges Members 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. The details of operation of the single window should be notified to the WTO Trade Facilitation Committee.

    Although the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) does not explicitly refer to Single Window, the RKC guidelines cover the operation of Single Window (3.25).

    The WCO has developed Single Window Data Harmonization Guidelines to provide Single Window environment developers with tools that can be used in order to achieve data harmonization and to develop internationally standardized data sets including the data element names, definitions, the WCO Data Model tag, United Nations Trade Data Element Directory (UNTDED) tag and the formats.

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    WTO TFA

    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 the Committee of the details of operation of the single window.

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

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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 a series of standards on clearance of goods and other Customs formalities.  Although the RKC does not explicitly refer to Single Window, the RKC guidelines cover the operation of Single Window (3.25).

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

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    Other WCO Tools

    Single Window Compendium

    To support capacity building efforts, the WCO has developed a Compendium on “How to Build a Single Window Environment”. The Compendium comes in two volumes. Volume 1, called the ‘Executive Guide’, deals with aspects of Single Window that are of concern to senior management. Volume 2 is called the Professional Practice Guide and is a collection of tools and techniques to support technical experts working on projects to establish a Single Window.

    The Compendium provides information and guidance at all stages of development of a Single Window Environment.  

    Volume 1 (download)

    Volume 2 (download)

    Single Window Supplement (download)

    The Supplement provides a succinct approach to the Single Window concept, which would be useful to Members and other stakeholders in the implementation/enhancement of Single Window environment. The Supplement would serve as a supplementary training package for national and regional Technical Assistance and Capacity Building activities. It was suggested to include best practices to the Supplement.

    WCO Data Model

    The WCO Data Model is a set of carefully combined data requirements that are mutually supportive and which will be updated on a regular basis to meet the procedural and legal needs of cross-border regulatory agencies such as Customs, controlling export, import and transit transactions.

    Data Model Flyer (download)

    Data Model general brochure (download)

    Data Model technical brochure (download)

    WCO Data Model Data Harmonization (download)

    SAFE Framework of Standards (download)

    Standard 5.3 of Section 5 (Coordinated Border Management) of the SAFE Framework states that Governments should develop co-operative arrangements, nationally and internationally, between Customs and other Government agencies involved in international trade in order to facilitate the seamless transfer of international trade data (Single Window environment) and to exchange risk intelligence.

    Coordinated Border Management Compendium

    The Coordinated Border Management (CBM) Compendium is helpful for WCO Members in their attempts to develop and implement CBM in their countries by incorporating best practices on different areas of CBM that Members could take reference from. The Compendium highlights electronic single window as the electronic manifestation of Coordinated Borde Management.

    IT Guide for Executives (download)

    The Guide provides information and insights into the strategic management process concerning the use of Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) in Customs. The Guide covers the development of Single Window.

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    Member Practices

    Qatar’s Single Window system continues to deliver improved results (WCO News, February 2015) (download)

    Implementing Single Window in Chile (download)

    Data harmonization for Single Windows: a case study from Oman (WCO News, February 2014) (download)

    Qatar introduces the Customs Clearance Single Window (WCO News, February 2014) (download)

    New Zealand Single Window opens for business (WCO News, October 2013) (download)

    Nigeria develops an organic National Single Window (WCO News, October 2013) (download)

    Survey of Single Window Implementation (Single Window Compendium Volume 2)

    The WCO Secretariat undertook a survey of Single Window Implementation. A total of 56 WCO member countries participated in the survey. The survey constitutes part of the WCO Single Window Compendium.

    -  Single Window Compendium Volume 2 (download)

    Malaysia launches new information system (WCO News, February 2016) (download)

    UNI-PASS: Korea’s Customs modernization tool(WCO News, February 2016) (download)

    Implementing the WCO Data Model in Oman (download)

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you have a Single Window system?

    Quantitative indicators

    • No. of business processes or services involved in your Single Window system

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  • Overview

    According to the TFA, Members shall not require the use of pre-shipment inspections in relation to tariff classification and customs valuation.

    The WCO Practical Guidelines for Valuation Control highlight pre-shipment inspection (PSI) as a key challenge and give advice to Customs administrations.

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    WTO TFA

    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. 12


    12 This sub-paragraph refers to pre-shipment inspections covered by the Pre-shipment Inspection Agreement, and does not preclude pre-shipment inspections for SPS purposes.

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    Revised kyoto convention

    Other WCO Tools

    Practical Guidelines for Valuation Control

    The Guidelines highlight pre-shipment inspection (PSI) as a key challenge and give advice to Customs administrations.

    (This tool is available on the WCO Members’ website. Download)


    Guide on termination of inspection contract

    The main purpose of the guide document is (1) to provide background information related to inspection services, (2) to present the initiatives and tools that the WCO) has developed to assist its Members in their initiatives to take ownership of missions outsourced by Governments to private sector Inspection companies, and, (3) to introduce the case studies provided by Members having successfully taken over from these service providers.

    (This tool is available on the WCO Members’ website. Download)

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    Member Practices

    Work in progress

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you require the use of pre-shipment inspection in relation to tariff classification and customs valuation?

    Quantitative indicators

    • No. of Customs import declarations subject to pre-shipment inspection per year

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  • Overview

    The TFA obliges Members not to introduce the requirement for the mandatory use of Customs brokers.

    Chapter 3 of the General Annex to the Revised Kyoto Convention sets out standards regarding the declarant. In particular, Standard 3.7 provides that any person who has the right to dispose of the goods can act as declarant. Chapter 8 of the General Annex concerns third parties, including Customs agents and brokers, and their relationship to Customs.

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    WTO TFA

    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.

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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 out standards regarding the declarant. Standard 3.6 stipulates that national legislation must prescribe who is entitled to be a declarant and the conditions under which the person can act as a declarant. Standard 3.7 provides that any person who has the right to dispose of the goods can act as declarant. In order to facilitate trade, this should not be taken as referring solely to the owner of the goods, but should be interpreted as broadly as possible, in accordance with national legislation, to include third parties acting on behalf of the owner such as the carrier, the consignee, a forwarding agent or a Customs broker, express courier in door-to-door services, etc.

    3.6. Standard

    National legislation shall specify the conditions under which a person is entitled to act as declarant.

    3.7. Standard

    Any person having the right to dispose of the goods shall be entitled to act as declarant.

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

    General Annex - Chapter 8 (Relationship between the Customs and Third Parties)

    Chapter 8 of the General Annex concerns third parties and their relationship to Customs.
    Examples of third parties covered by Chapter 8 are Customs agents and brokers, freight forwarders, modal and multi-modal carriers and delivery services.  The most common of these are Customs brokers or Customs agents who are essentially concerned with presenting and processing Customs documentation on behalf of importers or exporters.

    8.1. Standard

    Persons concerned shall have the choice of transacting business with the Customs either directly or by designating a third party to act on their behalf.

    8.2. Standard

    National legislation shall set out the conditions under which a person may act for and on behalf of another person in dealing with the Customs and shall lay down the liability of third parties to the Customs for duties and taxes and for any irregularities.

    8.3. Standard

    The Customs transactions where the person concerned elects to do business on his own account shall not be treated less favourably or be subject to more stringent requirements than those Customs transactions which are handled for the person concerned by a third party.

    8.4. Standard

    A person designated as a third party shall have the same rights as the person who designated him in those matters related to transacting business with the Customs.

    8.5. Standard

    The Customs shall provide for third parties to participate in their formal consultations with the trade.

    8.6. Standard

    The Customs shall specify the circumstances under which they are not prepared to transact business with a third party.

    8.7. Standard

    The Customs shall give written notification to the third party of a decision not to transact business.

    RKC Guidelines on RKC General Annex - Chapter 8  (download)

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    Other WCO Tools

    Study Report on Customs Brokers (download)

    The report provides a clear understanding of a wide spectrum of Members’ practices in terms of brokers’ role, institutional framework, regulatory/licensing requirements, challenges, opportunities and lessons learned, and to further provide guidance to Members, where needed, as mandated by the Policy Commission, the WCO developed a comprehensive Study Report on Customs Brokers.

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    Member Practices

    The Study Report on Customs Brokers includes a detailed analysis of Members’ practices and key outcomes at the aggregate level with some best practices as shared by Members. (download)

    Representation in case of customs declarations (Netherlands) (download)

    An overview of Japan’s Customs brokerage legislation (WCO News, October 2016) (download)

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Does your Customs legislation allow any persons having the right to dispose of the goods to lodge Customs declarations?

    Quantitative indicators

    • % of Customs import declarations lodged by persons other than Customs brokers

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  • Overview

    The TFA requires Members to apply common customs procedures and uniform documentation throughout their territory.

    Chapter 3 of the General Annex to the Revised Kyoto Convention sets a series of standards on the clearance of goods and other Customs formalities, including the content of Goods declarations.

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    WTO TFA

    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.

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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 a series of standards on the clearance of goods and other Customs formalities.  Standard 3.11 states that Customs will prescribe the contents of the Goods declaration and Standard 3.20 provides that the declarant should be allowed to choose the Customs office which is most convenient to fulfill the Customs formalities regarding the Goods declaration.

    3.11. Standard

    The contents of the Goods declaration shall be prescribed by the Customs. The paper format of the Goods declaration shall conform to the UN-layout key.

    For automated Customs clearance processes, the format of the electronically lodged Goods declaration shall be based on international standards for electronic information exchange as prescribed in the Customs Co-operation Council Recommendations on information technology.

    3.20. Standard

    The Customs shall permit the lodging of the Goods declaration at any designated Customs office.

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

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    Other WCO Tools

    Member Practices

    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you apply common Customs procedures and uniform documentation requirements throughout your Customs territory?

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  • Overview

    Where goods presented for import are rejected by the competent authority, the TFA requires Members to allow the importer to re-consign or return the rejected goods to the exporter or to another person designated by the exporter.

    Chapter 3 of the General Annex to the Revised Kyoto Convention sets a series of standards on the clearance of goods and other Customs formalities.  The Chapter is applicable to procedures for the return or re-exportation of rejected goods to the exporter.  In addition, Chapter 1 of Specific Annex C to the Revised Kyoto Convention concerns outright exportation, which is applicable to procedures for the return or re-exportation of rejected goods to the exporter.

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    WTO TFA

    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.

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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 a series of standards on the clearance of goods and other Customs formalities.  The Chapter is applicable to procedures for the return or re-exportation of rejected goods to the exporter. 

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

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


    General Annex - Chapter 4 (Duties and Taxes)

    Standard 4.19 of the General Annex to the Revised Kyoto Convention mentions the repayment which shall be granted to the importer/exporter for the goods that are returned as they are not in accordance with the agreed specifications.

    4.19. Standard

    Repayment shall be granted in respect of imported or exported goods which are found to have been defective or otherwise not in accordance with the agreed specifications at the time of importation or exportation and are returned either to the supplier or to another person designated by the supplier, subject to the following conditions:

    • the goods have not been worked, repaired or used in the country of importation, and are re-exported within a reasonable time;
    • the goods have not been worked, repaired or used in the country to which they
      were exported, and are re-imported within a reasonable time.

    Use of the goods shall, however, not hinder the repayment if such use was indispensable to discover the defects or other circumstances which caused the reexportation or re-importation of the goods.
    As an alternative to re-exportation or re-importation, the goods may be abandoned to the Revenue or destroyed or rendered commercially valueless under Customs control, as the Customs may decide. Such abandonment or destruction shall not entail any cost to the Revenue.

    RKC Guidelines on RKC General Annex  - Chapter 4  (download)


    Specific Annex C - Chapter 1 (Outright Exportation)

    Chapter 1 of Specific Annex C to the Revised Kyoto Convention concerns outright exportation, which is applicable to procedures for the return or re-exportation of rejected goods to the exporter. 

    Specific Annex C - Chapter 1 (Outright Exportation) (download)

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

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    Other WCO Tools

    Member Practices

    Work in progress

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you allow the importer to return the rejected goods to the exporter or another person designated by the exporter?

    Quantitative indicators

    • No. of cases involving returns to the exporter or another person designated by the exporter per year

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  • Overview

    The TFA requires Members to adopt customs procedures for the temporary admission of goods which allow goods to be brought into a customs territory with conditional relief from payment of import duties and taxes.

    Specific Annex G to the Kyoto Convention covers the basic provisions of all Customs procedures relating to temporary admission, including the broad fundamental principles. The Istanbul Convention, on the other hand, furnishes details of the procedures covered by the many Conventions concerning specific goods that it replaced, as well as details pertaining to Customs documents and guaranteeing associations.

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    WTO TFA

    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.

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    Revised kyoto convention

    Specific Annex G - Chapter 1 (Temporary Admission)

    Specific Annex G to the Revised Kyoto Convention is all about temporary admission.  It covers the conditions attached to temporary admission, such as the identification of goods and the time-limit for their re-exportation.  The Guidelines to the Specific Annex deal with the details.

    Specific Annex G - Chapter 1 (Temporary Admission) (download)

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

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    Other WCO Tools

    One of the most important internationally accepted systems for the movement of goods under temporary admission through multiple Customs territories is the ATA carnet system. It relies on an international chain of guaranteeing associations that provide the security for any duties and taxes which may become liable on the temporarily admitted goods. In particular, the Convention on Temporary Admission (Istanbul Convention) was designed to combine within a single instrument all the existing provisions on temporary admission which are found in a multitude of conventions and agreements, and also to harmonize procedures in pursuit of economic, humanitarian, cultural or touristic objectives.

    Istanbul Convention (download)

    ATA Convention (download)

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    Member Practices

    Survey on temporary admission (download)

    In March 2013, the joint 12th Meeting of the Administrative Committee of the Istanbul Convention and the 9th Meeting of Contracting Parties to the ATA Convention agreed conduct a survey to both Customs and guaranteeing associations through the ICC/WCF in order to better understand the practices associated with the ATA Carnet and temporary admission. Replies had been received from 37 WCO Members and 36 ICC/WCF members.

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you allow goods which are intended for re-exportation within a specific period to be brought into your Customs territory without requiring the payment of duties?

    Quantitative indicators

    • No. of temporary admission procedures per year  

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  • Overview

    The TFA requires Members to adopt customs procedures for inward and outward processing. The TFA defines the meaning of the terms ‘inward processing’ and ‘outward processing’.

    Specific Annex F to the Kyoto Convention sets out very detailed standards on inward processing (Chapter 1) and outward processing (Chapter 2), and includes many recommended practices.

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    WTO TFA

    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 Member's Customs procedure under which certain goods can be brought into a 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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    Revised kyoto convention

    Specific Annex F (Processing)

    Specific Annex F to the Kyoto Convention sets out very detailed standards on inward processing (Chapter 1), outward processing (Chapter 2) and Drawback (Chapter 3) and includes many recommended practices.

    Specific Annex F (Processing) (download)

    RKC Guidelines on RKC Specific Annex F – Chapter 1   (download)

    RKC Guidelines on RKC Specific Annex F – Chapter 2   (download)

    RKC Guidelines on RKC Specific Annex F – Chapter 3   (download)

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    Other WCO Tools

    One of the most important internationally accepted systems for the movement of goods under temporary admission through multiple Customs territories is the ATA carnet system. It relies on an international chain of guaranteeing associations that provide the security for any duties and taxes which may become liable on the temporarily admitted goods. In particular, the Convention on Temporary Admission (Istanbul Convention) was designed to combine within a single instrument all the existing provisions on temporary admission which are found in a multitude of conventions and agreements, and also to harmonize procedures in pursuit of economic, humanitarian, cultural or touristic objectives.

    Istanbul Convention (download)

    ATA Convention (download)

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    Member Practices

    Outward processing using the replacement system (EU) (RKC Guidelines on RKC Specific Annex F – Chapter 2)

    • In the European Community the competent authorities permit use of the "replacement system" when the processing operation consists of repairing the goods.
    • This system consists of substituting an imported good for a compensating product.  It therefore makes it possible to import, instead of the compensating product, another product known as the "replacement product", while retaining the benefits of outward processing.
    • The replacement product must normally fall in the same subheading of the Customs tariff (in the European Community this is referred to as the Combined Nomenclature), be of the same commercial grade or quality and have the same technical characteristics as the temporarily exported goods if the latter had undergone a specified repair (conditions of equivalence).
    • If the temporarily exported goods were used prior to exportation, the replacement products must also have been used and cannot be new products.  Derogations from this rule may be granted if the replacement product was delivered free of charge, either due to a contractual or legal guarantee obligation, or as a result of a manufacturing defect.
    • The competent authorities also permit, under conditions set by them, replacement products to be imported prior to exportation of the temporarily exported goods (prior importation).
    • Prior importation of a replacement product may require provision of security for the amount of the import duties.
    • The replacement system cannot be used to improve the technical performance of the goods.
    • Use of the replacement system is accepted when it is possible to check compliance with the conditions of equivalence between the replacement products and the compensating products which should have been imported.
    • Under the replacement system without prior importation, the time limit is determined taking account of the time required to substitute the temporarily exported goods and to transport the temporarily exported goods and the replacement products.

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you allow inward and outward processing?

    Quantitative indicators

    • No. of cases involving inward and outward processing per year  

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