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WCO participates in WTO workshop on valuation databases

05 noviembre 2014

The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently organised an informal workshop on the use of valuation databases. This event, held in Geneva and chaired by the Chairperson of the Committee on Customs Valuation (CCV) of the WTO, was timed to immediately follow the 39th Session of the Technical Committee on Customs Valuation (TCCV) held in Brussels at the WCO headquarters. Presentations were made by representatives of a number of Customs administrations, the WCO Secretariat, the Chairperson of the TCCV and the ICC. Speakers from Customs administrations described their use of a valuation database as a risk assessment tool or, in the case where a database was not used, advocated the use of alternative valuation control and risk management mechanisms, including advance rulings and post-clearance audit (PCA). The Chair of the TCCV summarised the TCCV’s "Guidelines on the development and use of a national database as a risk assessment tool". The WCO speaker presented further guidance developed by the WCO as part of the Revenue Package programme to support the TCCV Guidelines and promote good practices where an administration has chosen to develop a valuation database.

The ICC speaker voiced industry's concerns regarding the possible misuse of valuation databases to apply ‘reference’ or ‘minimum’ prices. The WCO speaker noted that an importer should be given the opportunity to produce further evidence in cases where a Customs administration has reasons to doubt the truth or accuracy of the declared value, as required under WTO Decision 6.1. The speaker added that a valuation database can be a useful risk assessment tool, particularly in situations where high levels of informal trade exist and PCA functions are not effective or fully developed. However, other risk indicators should also be taken into account, as part of a comprehensive risk management programme. The aim should be for Customs to strengthen PCA controls as a means of measuring and improving compliance, as well as to facilitate compliant business operators, e.g. via Authorized Economic Operator and other ‘trusted trader’ programmes. It was recognized that for many countries further capacity building and technical assistance is required to reach these goals, as part of wider Customs modernization programmes.