International Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance for the Prevention, Investigation and Repression of Customs Offences

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Nairobi, Kenya
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 21/05/1980

Category

Customs

Sub category

Customs Cooperation

Groups

WCO

What is it about?

This instrument, adopted under the auspices of the World Customs Organization (WCO), intends to combat customs offences by establishing international administrative co-operation between State Parties. These are held to exchange intelligence, documents and other information conductive to the prevention, investigation and repression of offences against customs laws. The present Convention comprises 20 general articles and 11 optional annexes on mutual assistance among State Parties with provisions on the assessment of import/export duties and taxes, controls, surveillance, enquiries and notifications, the presence of customs officials on the territory of another State Party and pooling of information. Annex X specifies the assistance in actions against the smuggling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Annex XI provides for the assistance in actions against the smuggling of works of art, antiques and other cultural property. The Convention is based on the principle of reciprocity; only State Parties to the same annexes have the obligation to mutual assistance. A State has to accept at least one annex to become a member to the present Convention.

Why is it relevant?

By establishing a framework for the international cooperation in matters relating to customs offences, this instrument supersedes different bilateral and multilateral regional agreements on this subject. The International Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters, adopted in Brussels on 27 June 2003, is similar to the 1977 Convention, but it adds two major novelties. Annexes are no more optional; therefore more of the provisions set forth in the 2003 Convention are mandatory. The 2003 Convention establishes a central automated information system.

Additional Information

A 1995 amendment allows for reservations on the present Convention. All Member States to the United Nations may become a member to the present Convention.

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