Kiribati accedes to the Revised Kyoto Convention and becomes the 114th Contracting Party

12 June 2018

On 11 June 2018, on the occasion of the 20th Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) Annual Conference held in Melbourne (Australia) and attended by the WCO Secretary General, Kiribati’s Minister of Justice, representing his Government, deposited his country’s instrument of accession to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention - RKC).

With this, Kiribati becomes the very first non-WCO Member to accede to the Convention. According to Article 8.1 of the RKC, any Member of the WCO and any Member of the United Nations or its specialized agencies may become a Contracting Party to this Convention by acceding to it.  It should be recalled that, in June 2017, the WCO organized a successful Workshop on the RKC for Vanuatu Customs and, thanks to financial support from the OCO Secretariat, participation in this Workshop was extended to six non-WCO Members (Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu).  One of the important outcomes of this Workshop was the development of clear action plans by each of the above-listed Pacific Islands towards accession to the RKC.

Having entered into force on 3 February 2006, the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), a WCO legal instrument known as the blueprint for modern and effective Customs procedures in the 21st Century, was also widely used in the negotiations on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA).  Accession to the RKC and, above all, its implementation, complements countries’ efforts towards ratification and implementation of the WTO TFA.  With the accession of Kiribati, the Convention now has 114 Contracting Parties.

The Convention’s key elements include the application of simplified Customs procedures in a predictable and transparent environment, optimal use of information technology, utilization of risk management for efficient Customs control, a strong partnership with trade and other stakeholders, and a readily accessible system of appeals.

In an international environment marked by a determination to implement the WTO TFA in an expeditious and harmonized manner, the WCO welcomes the fact that the number of Contracting Parties to the RKC continues to grow, especially as this instrument is at the core of the WCO’s Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP).  WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya strongly encourages WCO Members and other United Nations Members not yet having done so to follow the example of Kiribati and accede to the RKC (and, in particular, implement its provisions) as soon as possible, given this instrument’s significance for Customs and the international trade community.