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WTO Seminar on Technical Assistance in Customs Valuation Developing capacity building in the area of customs valuation - a perspective from the Commonwealth Secretariat Presented by Angela Strachan Chief Programme Officer Special Advisory Services Division Commonwealth Secretariat

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wto seminar on technical assistance in customs valuation

WTO Seminar on Technical Assistance in Customs Valuation

Developing capacity building in the area of customs valuation

- a perspective from the Commonwealth Secretariat

Presented by

Angela Strachan

Chief Programme Officer

Special Advisory Services Division

Commonwealth Secretariat

trade and commonwealth states
Trade and Commonwealth States
  • The Commonwealth:
    • 54 countries
    • 30% of the world ’s population
    • 32 small states
    • 14 LDCs
    • 23% of world trade
    • 40% of WTO membership
trade and commonwealth states3
Trade and Commonwealth States


  • Goals:
    • To assist developing countries to protect their interests and benefit from trade, investment and new information technology
    • To provide practical assistance that supports their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals
    • To promote international attention to and provide support for the special needs of small states
trade and commonwealth states4
Trade and Commonwealth States
  • Assistance to:
    • Develop and implement trade policy capacity
    • Promote regional integration
    • Expand enterprise development
    • Implement emerging priority areas for the Commonwealth
acv implementation concerns
ACV Implementation concerns
  • Economic, political and infrastructural challenges:
      • High turnover of customs personnel in some administrations
      • Fear of loss of Customs revenue since imported duties and related taxes still represent a significant % of total revenue in most countries
      • Political instability
      • Informal trade
      • Presence of PSI companies
      • Insufficient political will
trade capacity building customs valuation
Trade Capacity BuildingCustoms Valuation
    • CFTC/WTO sponsored Training programmes to better understand Article V11 of the GATT and to better implement spirit of the Agreement (ACV)
  • Accomplishments to date

2000 and 2001

      • ACV training programme done for 33 countries from Africa, Asia,Pacific and the Caribbean


      • 34 customs officials from English speaking Africa will take part in 2 week training course in South Africa (11-22, Nov)


      • French instructed Course designed for Francophone African countries (possible venue- Mauritius)
    • Training programmes are unique: combination of lectures, case studies,group work and on-the-job training
    • Plus Handbook on Frequently Asked Questions on Customs Valuation
customs valuation training beneficiary countries 2000 2002
Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica,Kiribati,Tonga,Tuvalu,

Solomon Islands,Vanuatu,

Samoa,Maldives, Tanzania

Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ghana,Nigeria, Maldives, Brunei Darussalam,

Fiji, Papua New Guinea

Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Mozambique, Botswana


Philippines,Laos, Bhutan, Mongolia, Nepal *

(N.B. Non-Commonwealth funded by WTO)

Mauritius, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Swaziland,Lesotho,Namibia

Malawi, Seychelles,Zimbabwe

Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt,


Project Partners:


plus Host country

Revenue Authority/Customs Administration

-India (2000, 2001)

-South Africa (2002)


Customs Valuation Trainingbeneficiary countries 2000 - 2002
acv implementation concerns8
ACV Implementation concerns
  • High levels of tariff encourage undervaluation and other valuation fraud
  • Commonwealth developing countries rely heavily on revenue from customs duties

Avg. 30 -60 percent of Govt. Revenue

  • More time required to develop infrastructure including:
    • legislation
    • human resources
    • administrative procedures
acv implementation concerns9
ACV Implementation concerns
  • Core capacity building needs:
    • Design and adopt model customs legislation
    • Establish Valuation Divisions
    • Design and deliver public education programmes
    • Develop training material incl.procedures manuals
    • Acquire or update computer systems
    • Develop declaration forms
    • Develop valuation databases
    • Develop and implement appeals mechanisms
acv implementation concerns10
ACV Implementation concerns

Computed value method presents some difficulty because of inability to get:

  • Information :
    • On cost of production in developed countries
    • Other elements of cost
  • Other Issues such as:

- Distance from manufacturing locations

    • Confidentiality regarding commercial costing
    • Insufficient confidence in levels/type of mutual assistance provided by customs administrations in developed countries
acv technical assistance best practices
ACV Technical Assistance Best Practices
  • Modality for training programmes
    • practical courses required
  • Target group for training need to be senior officials
  • Sustainability of assistance is an issue
  • South -south assistance is desirable in many cases
acv technical assistance needs to enhance wto compliance
ACV technical assistance needs to enhance WTO compliance
  • In depth training on the ACV
  • Attachments to suitable administrations of comparable size and effective competence based on applying the Agreement
  • Assistance to develop the machinery for appeals as provided for in legislation
  • Introduction of computerisation and databases in Valuation Divisions - essential to facilitate administration of the identical value method, similar value method and deductive value method
  • Assistance with developing and administering an ACV implementation plan and work programme
  • Assistance with developing funding briefs for donors
notes for consideration
Notes for Consideration
  • Problems universal but solutions local - so each country encouraged to develop recommendations to solve its own constraints
  • Further CFTC technical assistance possible particularly where other donors have an interest.