On 16 February, World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretary General, in his capacity as the depositary of the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention also known as the RKC), received Uzbekistan’s Instrument of Accession to the RKC from His Excellency Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Kingdom of Belgium. Uzbekistan so became the 127th Contracting Party to the RKC, which will enter into force for Uzbekistan on 16 May 2021.
During his meeting with the Ambassador, the WCO Secretary General noted that this accession to the RKC added to the significant steps taken by Uzbekistan to transform and modernise its trade infrastructure and said that the WCO would continue to support Uzbekistan in its efforts to simplify Customs procedures and facilitate trade.
The WCO Secretariat has strongly supported Uzbekistan in its process of accession, in particular by delivering a high-level Workshop for the Uzbekistan Customs Administration and all relevant ministries and agencies, on the process and benefits of accession to this important Convention. The Workshop, delivered online on 25 and 26 November 2020, was attended by more than 30 high-ranking officials from the Customs Administration and representatives of other relevant stakeholders.
The RKC, which entered into force on 03 February 2006, is a WCO legal instrument regarded by the entire international Customs community as a blueprint for modern Customs procedures in the 21stCentury. The RKC’s key elements include the application of simplified and harmonised Customs procedures in a predictable and transparent environment, the optimal use of information technology, the utilisation of risk management for efficient Customs control, a strong partnership with trade and other stakeholders, and a readily accessible system of appeals.
With its technical provisions, which are set out in the General Annex and the Specific Annexes, the RKC supports countries’ efforts towards the efficient and harmonious implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that entered into force on 22 February 2017.
In an international environment characterised by the efforts of Customs administrations to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic world-wide and support the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the WCO welcomes the fact that the number of Contracting Parties to the RKC continues to grow, especially as this important instrument includes a dedicated Specific Annex (Annex J5) dealing with the role of Customs in emergency situations and natural disaster relief. It is worth mentioning that the Republic of Uzbekistan has accepted almost all of the Specific Annexes, with the exception of Chapter 3 of Specific Annex E concerning the carriage of goods coastwise.
The WCO Secretary General welcomed the accession following the recent accessions of Liberia and Turkmenistan and said that it demonstrated Uzbekistan’s commitment to implementing Customs procedures which are adapted to the international trade environment. Other WCO Members and non-Members are encouraged to accede to the RKC as soon as possible, and RKC Contracting Parties are invited to implement the relevant provisions of the Convention, which are at the core of the WCO’s Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP).
Story by: Riaan de Lange