PSI Agreement: WTO members advance work on PSI

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, DG WTO

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) says there is encouraging progress on customs legislation notifications over the past few months from its member countries and members also advanced work on Pre Shipment Inspection (PSI) with a view to concluding the fifth triennial review of the PSI Agreement at the next Committee on Customs Valuation meeting in October 2021.

At the meeting of the committee last week, the chair of the Committee, Carlos Guevara of Ecuador, shared the current status of notifications as well as the status of questions and responses regarding customs valuation legislation (G/VAL/W/232/Rev.13) and stressed that since the last Committee meeting in October 2020, customs legislation notifications had been received from Afghanistan, Colombia, Mongolia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Solomon Islands and the United Kingdom.

The chairman noted that responses to the checklist of issues had been notified by Colombia, Israel, Namibia, Paraguay, Tonga and the United Kingdom, while responses to questions had been circulated from Honduras, the Kyrgyz Republic, Rwanda, the Solomon Islands and Togo. In addition, the Committee had received and circulated additional questions and responses from the European Union.

According to him, to date, 108 members have notified their national legislation on customs valuation and 75 members have notified responses to the checklist of issues (both numbers count the European Union as one). Twenty-nine members have not yet made either of these two notifications.

The chair reported on his contacts with a number of members who have yet to submit a notification relating either to their customs legislation or their responses to the checklist of issues. Thanking delegates for their work in preparing those notifications, he stressed that the encouraging exchanges held with several members will hopefully soon generate additional notifications. “This is encouraging progress and I urge other members that have not yet notified their legislation, or amendments to their legislation, to make every effort to do so. In this regard, I would like to emphasize that you can request the technical assistance that you may require,” he added.

Under Article 22 of the Customs Valuation Agreement and the Decision on “Notification and circulation of national legislation in accordance with Article 22 of the Agreement”, WTO members must submit the complete texts of their national legislation on customs valuation in one of the three official WTO languages. They should also inform the Committee of any changes in their laws and regulations relevant to this Agreement and in the administration of such laws and regulations.

Under the Pre Shipment Inspection (PSI), the Committee addressed four issues: the status of notifications, questions and responses regarding notifications, information on PSI programmes and the fifth triennial review of the PSI Agreement.

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