International Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Brussels, Belgium
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: N/A



Sub category

Customs Cooperation



What is it about?

This Convention, adopted under the auspices of the World Customs Organization (WCO), reinforces the cooperation between customs administrations to prevent, investigate and repress customs offences and to secure the international trade supply chain. State Parties lend administrative assistance through exchange of information, technical assistance and cross-border cooperation, resulting in actions like controlled delivery, the presence of customs officials on the territory of another State Party, hot pursuits, cross-border surveillance and joint control and investigation teams. In order to achieve its goal, the present Convention establishes a secure central automated information system for customs purposes. This system provides a database for use by the State Parties and contains personal information on individuals being suspected of or having committed a customs offence.

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 for the Prevention, Investigation and Repression of Customs Offences (Nairobi, 09 June 1977) is similar to the present Convention, which 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 for customs purposes.

Additional Information

Where assistance required under this Convention may infringe the sovereignty, laws and treaty obligations, security, public policy or any other substantive national interest of a requested State Party, or prejudice any legitimate commercial or professional interests, such assistance may be declined by that State Party or provided subject to any terms or conditions it may require. Any Member State to the United Nations may become a Party to the present Convention.


Country ratifications
CountryRatification date
South Africa12/07/2007
Treaties analysis
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