November 15, 2023
Members adopted a series of changes to improve the functioning of the Committee on Customs Valuation as part of the work towards WTO reform. At a formal meeting of the Committee on November 15, 2023 delegates also reviewed national customs valuation legislation notified by 35 members and agreed to use the eAgenda platform to assist the work of the Committee.
Following the mandate set out in paragraph 3 of the outcome document of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in June 2022, which mandated the General Council and its subsidiary bodies to direct the work, review progress and consider decisions to be submitted to the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) to be held in Abu Dhabi in February 2024, the Committee on Customs Valuation has held formal and informal discussions over the last year to carry out that mandate.
As a result of these discussions, the Committee agreed to implement several changes with a view to improving its functioning. For instance, the Committee decided to leverage digital tools more effectively and adopted the use of the eAgenda platform, which among other things facilitates for delegations the preparation and follow-up of meetings. Additionally, with a view to enhancing transparency and to enabling more engagement by delegations — particularly new delegates — it was agreed that the Secretariat will organise regular introductory sessions and will post information on its website describing the main aspects of the Committee’s work.
Regarding opportunities for experience sharing, the Chair of the Committee, Mr Omar Cissé of Senegal, recalled the session held at the previous formal meeting in May, where three members (China, Ecuador and India) made presentations on their recent experiences and practices in customs valuation since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chair expressed an interest in consulting with interested members so that an experience sharing session could be organized for the next meeting of the Committee.
The Chair shared with members the current notification status regarding customs valuation legislation as contained in document G/VAL/W/232/Rev.18. Also, more than a dozen notifications containing questions or responses regarding customs legislation were submitted by members.
Under Article 22 of the Customs Valuation Agreement and the Decision on “Notification and circulation of national legislation in accordance with Article 22 of the Agreement”, members must submit the complete texts of their national legislation on customs valuation in one of the three official WTO languages. They should also inform the Committee of any changes in their laws and regulations relevant to this Agreement and in the administration of such laws and regulations.
Following the consideration of 35 specific notifications at the Committee meeting, the Chair noted that to date, 112 members have notified their national customs valuation legislation and 79 members have provided responses to the list of issues concerning their legislation. He welcomed the notifications received since the last meeting and invited those members who have not yet notified their national customs valuation legislation or provided answers to the list of issues to do so as soon as possible.
Under the standing agenda item of preshipment inspection (PSI), the Chair drew members’ attention to the compilation of notifications under Article 5 of the Agreement on Preshipment Inspection. The current status of all PSI notifications is contained in G/PSI/N/1/Rev.6.
The Committee also agreed to launch the 6th triennial review of the PSI Agreement. In accordance with Article 6 of that Agreement, the Committee is required to carry out a triennial review in order to review the provisions, implementation and operation of the Agreement, taking into account its objectives and the experience gained in its operation. The last revision was launched in 2020 and completed in 2021.
PSI is the practice of employing private companies to check shipment details such as price, quantity and quality of goods ordered overseas. The PSI Agreement recognizes that principles of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) apply to such activities. The purpose is to safeguard national financial interests (prevention of capital flight and commercial fraud as well as customs duty evasion, for instance) and to compensate for inadequacies in administrative infrastructures.
The Chair noted that the work programme of the Committee on technical assistance for capacity building with regard to the implementation and administration of the Customs Valuation Agreement is incorporated into the overall programme of technical assistance of the WTO.
He thanked the Secretariat for its role in providing technical assistance on customs valuation issues in the context of the Regional Trade Policy Courses, the last of which was held last month in separate courses for members from Francophone and Anglophone Africa. In addition, a virtual activity is currently taking place this week with Ecuador and is being delivered by an evaluation expert identified in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO).
The Chair took note of a report prepared by the WCO Technical Committee on Customs Valuation, in document G/VAL/8/Add.46, which contains the most recent information on technical assistance and capacity building activities undertaken by the WCO in the field of customs valuation.
- Customs valuation
- All documents associated with this meeting
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