International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures
- Type: Convention
- Date of signature: 18/05/1973
- Place of signature: Kyoto, Japan
- Depositary: Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization
- Date of entry into force: 25/09/1974
What is it about?
The Kyoto Convention promotes international trade by encouraging States to adopt simplified and harmonized customs procedures. It consists of a General Annex and 31 Specific Annexes. The General Annex is the body of the Convention, and details provisions applicable to all contracting parties. Included are general principles, administrative management guidelines, definitions of customs terms, and the establishment of the Permanent Technical Committee. Specific Annexes are devoted to a particular customs procedure. A list of these Annexes is provided below. Each of these Specific Annexes requires entry into force. They also must be separately ratified and thus may be considered like separate conventions. Reservations can be made to these annexes, which considerably reduces their impact. To become a party to the Convention, a State must accept the main text as well as at least one of the specific annexes. The World Customs Organization adopted a Protocol to the International Convention in Brussels on June 26, 1999. This Protocol updates the Convention, offering new management policies to help customs offices to better handle increased trade. It also encourages the use of information technology whenever possible.
Why is it relevant?
The economic actors of a State benefit from predictable and profitable trans-border movement of goods and therefore gain a competitive edge on foreign markets and may take advantage of foreign goods on national markets. The provisions also permit customs offices to improve their customs controls and to accurately track fiscal receipts. More generally, this Convention permits increased trade and encourages foreign investment.
Any member State to the United Nations can become a Party to this Convention. The Permanent Technical Committee is charged to prepare new annexes, with proposing amendments, and to deliver opinions on all questions concerning the application of the Convention. The 31 annexes include: customs formalities prior to the lodgement of the goods declaration, the temporary storage of goods, customs formalities applicable to commercial means of transport customs treatment of stores, clearance for home use, relief from import duties and taxes in respect of goods declared for home use, re-importation in the same State, outright exportation, rules of origin, documentary evidence of origin, the control of documentary evidence of origin, customs transit, transhipment, customs warehouses drawback, temporary admission subject to re-exportation in the same State, temporary admission for inward processing, the duty-free replacement of goods, temporary exportation for outward processing, free zones, processing of goods for home use customs facilities applicable to travellers, customs formalities in respect of postal traffic, urgent consignments, the repayment of import duties and taxes, the carriage of goods coastwise, information supplied by the customs authorities, the relationship between customs authorities and third parties, appeals in customs matters, customs offences, customs applications of computers.
- Protocol of Amendment to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs procedures (Brussels, 26 June 1999)