How familiar are you with the Kyoto Convention, which must not be confused with the Kyoto Protocol?
The full name of the latter is the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It came into ‘full force’ on February 16, 2005, and is intended to reduce the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that countries release into the air.
The Kyoto Convention, which preceded the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), came into force on September 26, 1974, and sought to create an international instrument to simplify and harmonise customs procedures to facilitate international trade.
South Africa was not a signatory, in Kyoto, Japan, to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonisation of Customs Procedures, which is the official title of the Kyoto Convention.
It, however, signed up to the RKC on May 18, 2004, following the World Customs Organisation’s (WCO’s) adoption of the RKC on June 26, 1999. The RKC came into force on February 3, 2006; it was revised and updated to ensure it meets the demands of governments and international trade.
The WCO anticipates that the RKC will provide international commerce with the predictability and efficiency that modern trade requires. The RKC elaborates several key governing principles, chief among which are the principles of transparency and predictability of customs actions; standardisation and simplification of goods declaration and supporting documents; simplified procedures for authorised persons; maximum use of information technology; minimum necessary customs controls to ensure compliance with regulations; use of risk management and audit-based controls; and coordinated interventions with other border agencies.
The WCO contends that the RKC has become the basis for effective and efficient customs procedures in that its aims are to contribute to the development of international trade by simplifying and harmonising customs procedures and practices; foster international cooperation; combine the benefits of the facilitation of legitimate trade with appropriate levels of customs control; improve the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administrations and, therefore, overall economic competitiveness; encourage investment and the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises in international trade; and stimulate economic growth by facilitating trade.
The 272-page RKC promotes trade facilitation and effective controls through its legal provisions, which detail the application of simple yet efficient procedures. It also contains new and obligatory rules for its application which all contracting parties must accept without reservation.
If you have a particular interest in customs or trade facilitation, then you might well find the general annex of the RKC valuable, more so if you are participating in the protracted conclusion and introduction of the Customs and Excise Acts of 2014.
What follows are some of the more pertinent provisions of the general annex: Chapter 3 – Clearance and Other Customs Formalities; Chapter 4 – Duties and Taxes; 4A – Assessment, Collection and Payment of Duties and Taxes; 4B – Deferred Payment of Duties and Taxes; 4C – Repayment of Duties and Taxes; Chapter 5 – Security; Chapter 6 – Customs Control; Chapter 7 – Application of Information Technology; Chapter 8 – Relationship between the Customs and Third Parties; Chapter 9 – Information, Decisions and Rulings Supplied by the Customs; 9A – Information of General Application; 9B – Information of a Specific Nature; 9C – Decisions and Rulings; Chapter 10 – Appeals in Customs Matters; 10A – Right of Appeal; 10B – Form and Grounds of Appeal; and 10C – Consideration of Appeal.
The specific annexes (guidelines) are A – Arrival of Goods in a Customs Territory; A1 – Formalities Prior to the Lodgement of the Goods Declaration; A2 – Temporary Storage of Goods; B – Importation; B1 – Clearance for Home Use; B2 – Reimportation in the Same State; B3 – Relief from Import Duties and Taxes; C – Exportation; D – Customs Warehouses and Free Zones; E – Customs Transit and Transshipment; F – Inward Processing, Outward Processing, Drawback, and Processing of Goods for Home Use; G – Temporary Admission; H – Customs Offences; and K – Origin.