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WCO celebrates the 50th session of the Technical Committee on Customs Valuation

14 octubre 2020

The World Customs Organization (WCO) organized a virtual commemorative opening to mark the 50th Session of the Technical Committee on Customs Valuation (TCCV) on 12 October 2020.  During this event chaired by Mr. Jan Birkhoff, the Secretary General of the WCO, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Mr. Yi Xiaozhun, the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Mr. John W.H. Denton AO, as well as speakers from several Member countries, including former chairpersons of the TCCV, addressed the Technical Committee. More than 170 participants from around the world registered for this milestone event, including current participants of the meeting and observers, former delegates, and staff of the WCO Secretariat.

In his address, Secretary General Mikuriya noted that the adoption of the GATT Valuation Code was a revolutionary switch to the transaction value from the use of the normal price under the Convention of the Valuation of Goods for Customs Purposes (also known as the BDV) and underscored the importance of the Technical Committee, established under the Agreement to Implement Article VII of the GATT, in its role to ensure, at a technical level, uniformity in interpretation and application of the Agreement.
Dr. Mikuriya highlighted the implementation challenges Customs administrations and the international trade community continue to face since the entering into force of the Agreement 40 years ago. Such challenges, he added, lie not only in the technical complexities but also in the capacity of Customs administrations to ensure compliance, especially in developing countries. There are also challenges in keeping the Agreement up to date in light of the evolution of the global value chains, the emerging new business models, the e-commerce sector and the fast changing technologies.

In relation to the technical assistance provided by the WCO to its Members, he explained that the Secretariat has gone beyond explaining the technical aspects of the agreement to cover a wider range of Customs techniques which were incorporated in the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation and mentioned the guidance documents developed, which form part of the WCO Revenue Package. Additionally, to specifically address the needs of the private sector, the WCO has launched the WCO Academy, with Customs valuation as one of its pioneering courses.

Referring to the agenda of the TCCV, Secretary General Mikuriya urged the TCCV members for active participation to jointly explore solutions in a timely manner. 

The Deputy Director General of the WTO thanked the WCO for its excellent custodianship of the Technical Committee on Customs Valuation over the past 25 years.  He urged the Technical Committee to continue its work to ensure uniformity in interpretation and application of the Agreement and to work hands in hands with the Committee in Geneva to address the changes in global trade, in particular, the reshaping of global value chains and the new and emerging business models and trade developments that occurred since the Agreement was negotiated and which could not have been foreseen at that time. He also made the linkages between the Agreement on Trade facilitation and the Customs Valuation Agreement.

The Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce, Mr. John Denton, thanked the WCO for the opportunity given to the ICC to participate to the high level opening session as well as to contribute to the WCO News magazine.  The long and close cooperation between the ICC and the WCO in the area of Customs valuation started in 1979, he noted, when the ICC was accepted as observer to the meetings of the TCCV. The ICC contributed to the work of the Technical Committee by explaining specific aspects of commercial practice in terms of their relevance to Customs valuation, as well as to engage with Customs representatives on specific technical issues.

Speakers from Brazil, Canada, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the European Union, Japan, Thailand, and the United States shared their experience and the challenges in implementing the Agreement. Mr. Guzman Manes, former Chairperson of the TCCV from Uruguay, gave an insight about the rules and working methods of the Technical Committee.

In his closing remarks, the Director of the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate, Mr. Ping Liu, noted that the celebration of the 50th Session of the TCCV was a unique opportunity to review the achievements of the Technical Committee since its coming into force in 1981 and to look forward to the future. He announced the launching of the news release, a brochure and a series of cover story articles that will be published in the next issue of the WCO News magazine to mark the 50th session of the TCCV.