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Towards a new revision of the Kyoto Convention

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The World Customs Organisation (WCO) Working Group on the Comprehensive Review of the Revised Kyoto Convention (WGRKC) met on December 2019 to discuss next steps for reviewing the Revised Kyoto Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (RKC).

Developed by the World Customs Organization, the Kyoto Convention (KC) was signed on 18 May 1973 and entered into force on 25 September 1974, to harmonise customs procedures of the WCO members in view of facilitating international trade. Subsequently, on 26 June 1999, the KC has undergone a large revision process by virtue of an amending Protocol whose aim was to adapt the Convention to the new needs of international trade, in particular, to the use of the new information technologies and innovative control techniques, like risk management and post-clearance audits. Since this revision, the KC has been renamed “Revised” Kyoto Convention (RKC), entered into force on 3rd February 2006, with the achievement of the minimal number of 40 ratifications required for the Convention to be effective.

The RKC is considered an essential tool for trade facilitation at international level. Its text contains the core principles for modern and efficient Customs procedures (included in a General Annex, which is mandatory for accession and implementation by Contracting Parties), plus some standards and recommended practices on the various customs procedures and rules of origin (gathered in 10 Specific Annexes, in turn articulated in Chapters, both of them accessible by each Contracting Party at its discretion, according to its needs and timelines).

The “RKC package” is further complemented by non-binding Guidelines aimed at ensuring the uniform interpretation of the Convention, which also provide concrete examples of implementation of certain procedures drawn from some national experiences.

The new process for the revision of the RKC will be articulated into 4 steps:

1) Submission of proposals and development of recommendations;

2) Assessment of developed recommendations against the RKC and existing WCO tools;

3) Consideration of developed recommendations against criteria; and

4) Development of amendment proposals.

During the WGRKC meeting of December 2019, the Group also agreed on the working methodologies, the new work plan, criteria for prioritizing the proposals, and prioritization of concepts/proposals to test the use of developed criteria.

The next meeting of the WGRKC is now scheduled for 30 March to 3 April 2020, in order to finalise the Step 1.

Further information on the RKC is available here



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