Douaneovereenkomst inzake containers
The Contracting Parties,
Desiring to develop and to facilitate the use of containers in international traffic,
For the purpose of this Convention:
The term “import duties and import taxes” shall mean not only Customs duties but also all duties and taxes whatsoever chargeable by reason of importation;
The term “container” shall mean an article of transport equipment (lift-van, movable tank or other similar structure):
Of a permanent character and accordingly strong enough to be suitable for repeated use;
Specially designed to facilitate the carriage of goods, by one or more modes of transport, without intermediate reloading;
Fitted with devices permitting its ready handling, particularly its transfer from one mode of transport to another;
So designed as to be easy to fill and empty; and
Having an internal volume of one cubic metre or more; and shall include the normal accessories and equipment of the container, when imported with the container; the term “container” includes neither vehicles nor conventional packing;
The term “persons” shall mean both natural and legal persons unless the context otherwise requires.
Each of the Contracting Parties shall grant temporary admission free of import duties and import taxes and free of import prohibitions and restrictions, subject to re-exportation and to the other conditions laid down in articles 3 to 6 below, to containers when they are imported loaded to be re-exported either empty or loaded, or imported empty to be re-exported loaded. Each Contracting Party shall retain the right to withhold these facilities in the case of containers which are imported on purchase or otherwise taken into effective possession and control by a person resident or established in its territory; the same applies to containers imported from a country which does not apply the provisions of this Convention.
Containers temporarily imported free of import duties and import taxes shall be re-exported within three months from the date of importation. This period may be extended for valid reasons by the Customs authorities within the limits laid down by the legislation in force in the territory into which containers have been temporarily imported.
Notwithstanding the requirement of re-exportation laid down in article 3, the re-exportation of badly damaged containers shall not be required, in the case of duly authenticated accidents, provided that the containers:
Are subjected to the import duties and import taxes to which they are liable; or
Are abandoned free of all expense to the Exchequer of the country into which they were imported temporarily; or
Are destroyed, under official supervision, at the expense of the parties concerned, any salvaged parts and materials being subjected to the import duties and import taxes to which they are liable;
as the Customs authorities may require.
When a container temporarily imported cannot be re-exported as a result of a seizure, other than a seizure made at the suit of private persons, the requirement of re-exportation laid down in article 3 shall be suspended for the duration of the seizure.
Component parts imported for the repair of a particular container already temporarily imported shall be admitted temporarily free of import duties and import taxes and free of import prohibitions and restrictions.
Replaced parts which are not re-exported shall be liable to import duties and import taxes except where, in conformity with the regulations of the country concerned, they may be abandoned free of all expense to the Exchequer or destroyed, under official supervision, at the expense of the parties concerned.
The procedure for the temporary admission of containers and component parts free of import duties and import taxes shall be governed by the regulations in force in the territory of each Contracting Party.
Each of the Contracting Parties which applies a system of transport of containers under Customs seal shall accept for such transport containers complying with the provisions of the regulations contained in Annex 1 and shall apply the approval procedures laid down in Annex 2.
The Contracting Parties shall endeavour not to introduce Customs procedures which might have the effect of impeding the development of international transport by containers.
Any breach of the provisions of this Convention, any substitution, false declaration or act having the effect of causing a person or an article improperly to benefit from the facilities provided for in this Convention, may render the offender liable in the country where the offence was committed to the penalties prescribed by the laws of that country.
Nothing in this Convention shall prevent Contracting Parties which form a Customs or economic union from enacting special provisions applicable to persons resident or established in one of the countries forming that union.
Each Contracting Party shall have the right to deny the benefit of temporary importation free of import duties and import taxes and free of import prohibitions and restrictions to, or to withdraw that benefit from, containers which are used, even occasionally, for the purpose of loading goods within the frontiers of the country into which the container is imported, for deposit within those frontiers.
Countries members of the Economic Commission for Europe and countries admitted to the Commission in a consultative capacity under paragraph 8 of the Commission's terms of reference, may become Contracting Parties to this Convention:
By ratifying it after signing it subject to ratification;
Such countries as may participate in certain activities of the Economic Commission for Europe in accordance with paragraph 11 of the Commission's terms of reference may become Contracting Parties to this Convention by acceding thereto after its entry into force.
The Convention shall be open for signature until 31 August 1956 inclusive. Thereafter it shall be open for accession.
Ratification or accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
This Convention shall come into force on the ninetieth day after five of the countries referred to in article 12, paragraph 1, have signed it without reservation of ratification or have deposited their instruments of ratification or accession.
For any country ratifying or acceding to it after five countries have signed it without reservation of ratification or have deposited their instruments of ratification or accession, this Convention shall enter into force on the ninetieth day after the said country has deposited its instrument of ratification or accession.
Any Contracting Party may denounce this Convention by so notifying the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Denunciation shall take effect fifteen months after the date of receipt by the Secretary-General of the notification of denunciation.
This Convention shall cease to have effect if, for any period of twelve consecutive months after its entry into force, the number of Contracting Parties is less than five.
Any country may, at the time of signing this Convention without reservation of ratification or of depositing its instrument of ratification or accession or at any time thereafter, declare by notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations that this Convention shall extend to all or any of the territories for the international relations of which it is responsible. The Convention shall extend to the territory or territories named in the notification as from the ninetieth day after its receipt by the Secretary-General or, if on that day the Convention has not yet entered into force, at the time of its entry into force.
Any country which has made a declaration under the preceding paragraph extending this Convention to any territory for whose international relations it is responsible may denounce the Convention separately in respect of that territory in accordance with the provisions of article 14.
Any dispute between two or more Contracting Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention shall so far as possible be settled by negotiation between them.
Any dispute which is not settled by negotiation shall be submitted to arbitration if any one of the Contracting Parties in dispute so requests and shall be referred accordingly to one or more arbitrators selected by agreement between the Parties in dispute. If within three months from the date of the request for arbitration the Parties in dispute are unable to agree on the selection of an arbitrator or arbitrators, any of those Parties may request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to nominate a single arbitrator to whom the dispute shall be referred for decision.
The decision of the arbitrator or arbitrators appointed under the preceding paragraph shall be binding on the Contracting Parties in dispute.
Each Contracting Party may, at the time of signing, ratifying, or acceding to, this Convention, declare that it does not consider itself as bound by article 17 of the Convention. Other Contracting Parties shall not be bound by article 17 in respect of any Contracting Party which has entered such a reservation.
Any Contracting Party having entered a reservation as provided for in paragraph 1 may at any time withdraw such reservation by notifying the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
No other reservation to this Convention shall be permitted.
After this Convention has been in force for three years, any Contracting Party may, by notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, request that a conference be convened for the purpose of reviewing the Convention. The Secretary-General shall notify all Contracting Parties of the request and a review conference shall be convened by the Secretary-General if, within a period of four months following the date of notification by the Secretary-General, not less than one third of the Contracting Parties notify him of their concurrence with the request.
If a conference is convened in accordance with the preceding paragraph, the Secretary-General shall notify all the Contracting Parties and invite them to submit within a period of three months such proposals as they may wish the conference to consider. The Secretary-General shall circulate to all Contracting Parties the provisional agenda for the conference together with the texts of such proposals at least three months before the date on which the conference is to meet.
The Secretary-General shall invite to any conference convened in accordance with this article all countries referred to in article 12, paragraph 1, and countries which have become Contracting Parties under article 12, paragraph 2.
Any Contracting Party may propose one or more amendments to this Convention. The text of any proposed amendments shall be transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations who shall transmit it to all Contracting Parties and inform all other countries referred to in article 12, paragraph 1.
Any proposed amendment circulated in accordance with the preceding paragraph shall be deemed to be accepted if no Contracting Party expressed an objection within a period of six months following the date of circulation of the proposed amendment by the Secretary-General.
The Secretary-General shall, as soon as possible, notify all Contracting Parties whether an objection to the proposed amendment has been expressed. If an objection to the proposed amendment has been expressed, the amendment shall be deemed not to have been accepted and shall be of no effect whatever. If no such objection has been expressed the amendment shall enter into force for all Contracting Parties three months after the expiry of the period of six months referred to in the preceding paragraph.
Independently of the amendment procedure laid down in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of this article, the annexes to this Convention may be modified by agreement between the competent Administrations of all the Contracting Parties. The Secretary-General shall fix the date of entry into force of the new texts resulting from such modifications.
In addition to the notifications provided for in articles 19 and 20, the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall notify the countries referred to in article 12, paragraph 1, and the countries which have become Contracting Parties under article 12, paragraph 2, of:
Signatures, ratifications and accessions under article 12;
The dates of entry into force of this Convention in accordance with article 13;
Denunciations under article 14;
The termination of this Convention in accordance with article 15;
Notifications received in accordance with article 16;
Declarations and notifications received in accordance with article 18, paragraphs 1 and 2;
The entry into force of any amendment in accordance with article 20.
The Protocole of Signature of this Convention shall have the same force, effect and duration as the Convention itself of which it shall be considered to be an integral part.
After 31 August 1956, the original of this Convention shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit certified true copies to each of the countries mentioned in article 12, paragraphs 1 and 2.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto, have signed this Convention.
DONE at Geneva, this eighteenth day of May one thousand nine hundred and fifty-six, in a single copy, in the English and French languages, each text being equally authentic.