More WCO tools to assist revenue collection to be launched soon
The WCO’s Revenue Package (RP) is nearing the completion of its third phase, which will see the launch in June 2018 of a number of new tools and material for Customs administrations.
The motto of the RP is “fair and efficient revenue collection,” the objective being to strengthen the capacity of Customs administrations to identify and collect all revenue that is legally due. This requires Customs, and the business community, to have deep technical knowledge of the building blocks for establishing duty liability – namely, Customs valuation, classification, and preferential origin. These classic Customs work areas should be supported by dynamic risk management and post-clearance audit programmes.
An understanding of trade facilitation measures is also a key consideration. Facilitating the trade of compliant businesses is in fact compatible with the goal of effective revenue collection. By using risk management techniques to determine the compliance levels of individual businesses, Customs is able to allocate its resources more effectively to targeting low compliant operators and reducing checks on those with a high compliance record, thus facilitating legitimate trade.
In respect of Customs valuation, emphasis is placed on developing control programmes and strengthening infrastructure. One new document – Practical Implementation of the WTO Valuation Agreement: A Brief Guide for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) – provides advice to LDCs which typically face particular challenges in implementing the WTO Valuation Agreement. Examples are also provided of the control programmes of national administrations, including those which utilize a valuation database, such as the system developed by UNCTAD to be used in conjunction with ASYCUDAWorld. A valuation database can be a very useful tool for developing countries who have yet to fully develop their post-clearance audit function. However, it is essential that the database is used in line with WCO recommendations, which stress that database prices are to be used only for comparison and risk assessment purposes – they may not be used as substitute Customs values.
New origin tools have been developed, including the Practical Guide to the 2015 Nairobi Ministerial Decision on Rules of Origin for LDCs, which will contribute to facilitating preferential market access for these countries. The Guide provides practical information on how to qualify for preferential treatment and detailed explanations of the elements in the Decision. In addition, five new e-learning modules have been developed on the topics of certification, cumulation, origin criteria, direct transportation, and verification.
In the area of classification, the Customs Laboratories Guide has been updated. A new appendix adds contact information for the Regional Customs Laboratories (RCLs) and links to relevant information. RCLs play a vital role in enhancing regional capabilities by providing information and training. Appendix V also contains the “Procedures and Requirements for Establishing a Regional Customs Laboratory,” which is intended to assist WCO Members that are considering whether they are in a position to join the network of RCLs.
Last but not least, a number of tools developed under earlier phases of the RP have been updated under Phase III and supplemented by new country case studies.
The Revenue Package was initiated in 2009 as a response to WCO Members’ concerns over declining revenue returns in the context of the global financial crisis of 2008, and falling duty rates in general. In Phases I and II (finalized in 2012 and 2015 respectively), a series of tools and material was developed on a full range of revenue-related topics. All the material is available to Customs administrations via the WCO website (Phase III material will be released following the meeting of the WCO Policy Commission in June 2018).