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  • Overview

    The TFA requires that regulations or formalities in connection with traffic in transit should be eliminated or reduced if they are no longer required, or a less trade restrictive solution becomes available. Fees or charges may be imposed on transit only for transportation or if commensurate with administrative expenses entailed by transit or with the cost of services rendered.

    The TFA includes several measures that facilitate transit procedures, including the pre-arrival declaration, and prohibit restrictive measures in relation to customs charges, formalities, and inspections other than at the offices of departure and destination. It contains several provisions relating to guarantees.

    Chapter 1 of Specific Annex E to the Revised Kyoto Convention sets out principles concerning Customs transit.  It covers procedures such as formalities at the office of departure, Customs seals, formalities en route and termination of Customs transit.  Moreover, Chapter 2 to Specific Annex E to the Revised Kyoto Convention concerns transhipment.  The RKC Guidelines offer more technical and detailed information on transit.

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    WTO TFA

    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.

    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.

    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 fulfilment 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 to 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 a Member, that office shall promptly terminate the transit operation if transit requirements have been met.

    11.1. Where a Member requires a guarantee in the form of a surety, deposit or other appropriate monetary or non-monetary13 instrument for traffic in transit, such guarantee shall be limited to ensuring that requirements arising from such traffic in transit are fulfilled.

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

    11.3. 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.

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

    11.5. 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.

    12. Members shall endeavour to cooperate and coordinate with one another with a view to enhance 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.

    13. 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.


    13 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.

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    Revised kyoto convention

    Specific Annex E – Chapter 1 (Customs Transit)

    Chapter 1 of Specific Annex E to the Revised Kyoto Convention sets out principles concerning Customs transit.  It provides for a transit system which is intended to achieve maximum facilitation of the movement of goods under Customs control in international transport, as well as offering transit countries the requisite security and Customs guarantees.  It covers procedures such as formalities at the office of departure, Customs seals, formalities en route and termination of Customs transit. 

    Specific Annex E – Chapter 1 (Customs Transit) (download)

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

     

    Specific Annex E – Chapter 2 (Transhipment)

    Chapter 2 of Specific Annex E to the Revised Kyoto Convention sets out principles concerning transhipment.  The Chapter covers, for example, the declaration, examination and identification of goods.  The Guidelines to both Chapters deal with the details of these procedures.

    Specific Annex E – Chapter 2 (Transhipment) (download)

    RKC Guidelines on RKC Specific Annex E - Chapter 2 (download)

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    Other WCO Tools

    Transit Handbook (download)

    The WCO Transit Handbook deals with various aspects of the operation of Customs transit procedures, and is accordingly intended to serve as a practical guide to assist WCO Members to develop a functional and effective transit system which may contribute to the enhancement of economic competitiveness and secure their revenue. In particular, this Handbook helps developing and least-developed Members to assess the effectiveness of their transit schemes and identify any further improvements needed.

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    Members Practices

    Transit Handbook introduces Members’ innovative practices on transit (download)

    Customs Transit Procedures in the European Union (General Features) (Presentation at the PTC in November 2013) (download)

    Customs Transit Procedures in the European Union (Operation of Union & Common Transit procedures) (Presentation at the PTC in November 2013) (download)

    Mesoamerica improves international transit controls on goods (WCO News, October 2012) (download)

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you have transit procedures which allow the movement of goods within your Customs territory without requiring the payment of duties?

    Quantitative indicators

    • No. of transit entry declarations per year

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