It is anticipated that most Customs and Border Authorities have at least one common item on their national capacity building agenda’s for 2014 – the Agreement on Trade Facilitation. Many countries, being members of the WCO, would have already acceded to a level of commitment to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC). This requires of them to introduce, at an agreed time, the principles of WCO standards and policies according to the level of their sovereign commitment.
The General Annex to the RKC is the bare minimum a country would be expected to implement in order to for it to be considered compliant with the RKC. From a trade perspective, this also indicates the extent to which your country’s leaders have committed itself towards ‘global integration’.
What the recent Trade Facilitation Agreement (ATF) in Bali does is bind member states to a compendium of requirements necessary for the enactment of certain conditions and obligations as set out in the various articles contained in the agreement. Countries should also note that certain of the ATF provisions include items under the Specific Annexes to the RKC. For a quick reference to see how the RKC and other WCO standards and conventions stack up to the ATF, refer to the WTO Trade Facilitation Toolkit by clicking the hyperlink.
In addition to this, the ATF also makes provision for ‘special and differential treatment’ in regard to developing and least developed countries (Refer to Section II to the WTO ATF).
In essence this allows those countries and opportunity of identifying their (capacity building) needs and setting themselves realistic targets for implementation and compliance to the ATF. To this end 3 Categories are identified for national states to consider in the event they are not at present in a position to accede to some or all of the ATF conditions.
The WCO has also prepared various tools which aim at assisting its members in assessing their national position in regard to the ATF. Members are likewise encouraged to regularly visit the WCO website for updates in this regard.
The following working papers are available from the WCO website and, for ease of access, are listed below together with their hyperlink to the WCO site –
- Presentation of the WCO on the ATF
- WCO Guidelines for Post-Clearance Audit (Flier)
- Advance Rulings (Flier)
- WCO Customs Risk Management Compendium (Flier)
- WTO Trade Facilitation Toolkit
- Facilitating trade through communication, cooperation and coordination (Flier on Coordinated Border Management)
- WCO and Customs’ roles in implementing the ATF (Flier)
- Performance Indicators for Agreement on Trade Facilitation
Other related Trade Facilitation documentation can be found at the following link – WTO Trade Facilitation Negotiations
Text of the WTO Free Trade Agreement