Internationale Overeenkomst inzake de harmonisatie van de goederencontroles aan de grenzen
The Contracting Parties,
Desiring to improve the international movement of goods,
Bearing in mind the need to facilitate the passage of goods at frontiers,
Noting that control measures are applied at frontiers by different control services,
Acknowledging that the conditions under which such controls are carried out may be extensively harmonized without impairing their purpose, their proper implementation and their effectiveness,
Convinced that the harmonization of frontier controls constitutes an important means for attaining these objectives,
Have agreed as follows:
"Customs" means the Government Service which is responsible for the administration of Customs law and the collection of import and export duties and taxes and which also has responsibility for the application of other laws and regulations relating, inter alia, to the importation, transit and exportation of goods;
"Customs Control" means measures applied to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations which the Customs are responsible for enforcing;
"Medico-sanitary inspection" means the inspections exercised for the protection of the life and health of persons, with the exception of veterinary inspection;
"Veterinary inspection" means the sanitary inspection applied to animals and animal products with a view to protecting the life and health of persons and animals, as well as that carried out on objects or goods which could serve as a carrier for animal diseases;
"Phytosanitary inspection" means the inspection intended to prevent the spread and the introduction across national boundaries of pests of plants and plant products;
"Control of compliance with technical standards" means the control to ensure that goods meet the minimum international or national standards specified by relevant laws and regulations;
"Quality control" means any control other than referred to above to ensure that the goods correspond to the minimum international or national definitions of quality specified by relevant laws and regulations;
"Control services" means any service responsible for carrying out all or part of the controls defined above or any other controls regularly applied to the importation, exportation or transit of goods.
Article 2. Aim
In order to facilitate the international movement of goods, this Convention aims at reducing the requirements for completing formalities as well as the number and duration of controls, in particular by national and international co-ordination of control procedures and of their methods of application.
This Convention applies to all goods being imported or exported or in transit, when being moved across one or more maritime, air or inland frontiers.
This Convention applies to all control services of the Contracting Parties.
Article 4. Co-ordination of controls
The Contracting Parties shall undertake, to the extent possible, to organize in a harmonized manner the intervention of the Customs service and the other control services.
Article 5. Resources of the services
To ensure that the control services operate satisfactorily, the Contracting Parties shall see to it that, as far as possible, and within the framework of national law, they are provided with:
qualified personnel in sufficient numbers consistent with traffic requirements;
equipment and facilities suitable for inspection, taking into account the mode of transport, the goods to be checked and traffic requirements;
official instructions to officers for acting in accordance with international agreements and arrangements and with current national provisions.
Article 6. International co-operation
The Contracting Parties undertake to co-operate with each other and to seek any necessary co-operation from the competent international bodies, in order to achieve the aims of this Convention, and furthermore to attempt to arrive at new multilateral or bilateral agreements or arrangements, if necessary.
Article 7. Co-operation between adjacent countries
Whenever a common inland frontier is crossed, the Contracting Parties concerned shall take appropriate measures, whenever possible, to facilitate the passage of the goods, and they shall, in particular:
endeavour to arrange for the joint control of goods and documents, through the provisions of shared facilities;
endeavour to ensure that the following correspond:
opening hours of frontier posts,
the control services operating there,
the categories of goods, the modes of transport and the international Customs transit procedures accepted or in use there.
Article 8. Exchange of information
The Contracting Parties shall, on request, send each other information necessary for the application of this Convention under the conditions specified in the annexes.
The Contracting Parties shall endeavour to further the use, between themselves and with the competent international bodies, of documents aligned on the United Nations Layout Key.
The Contracting Parties shall accept documents produced by any appropriate technical process, provided that they comply with official regulations as to their form, authenticity and certification, and that they are legible and understandable.
The Contracting Parties shall ensure that the necessary documents are prepared and authenticated in strict compliance with the relevant legislation.
The Contracting Parties shall, wherever possible, provide simple and speedy treatment for goods in transit, especially for those travelling under cover of an international Customs transit procedure, by limiting their inspections to cases where these are warranted by the actual circumstances or risks. Additionally, they shall take into account the situation of land-locked countries. They shall endeavour to provide for extension of the hours and the competence of existing Customs posts available for Customs clearance for goods carried under an international Customs transit procedure.
They shall endeavour to facilitate to the utmost the transit of goods carried in containers or other load units affording adequate security.
No provision in this Convention shall preclude the application of the prohibitions or restrictions relating to importation, exportation, or transit, imposed for reasons of public order, and in particular public safety, morality, and health, or for the protection of the environment, of cultural heritage or industrial, commercial and intellectual property.
Nevertheless, whenever possible without prejudice to the effectiveness of the controls, the Contracting Parties shall endeavour to apply to the controls in connection with the application of the measures mentioned in paragraph 1 above the provisions of this Convention, inter alia, those which are the subject of articles 6 to 9.
The emergency measures which the Contracting Parties may be led to introduce because of particular circumstances, must be proportionate to the reasons which give rise to their introduction and must be suspended or abrogated when these reasons no longer exist.
Whenever possible without prejudice to the effectiveness of the measures, the Contracting Parties shall publish the relevant provisions for such measures.
The annexes to this Convention form an integral part of the Convention.
New annexes relating to other sectors of control may be added to this Convention according to the procedure specified in articles 22 or 24 below.
Article 14. Relation to other treaties
Without prejudice to the provisions of article 6, the Convention shall not override the rights and obligations arising from treaties which the Contracting Parties to the Convention concluded before becoming contracting parties to this Convention.
This Convention shall not prevent the application of greater facilities which two or more Contracting Parties may wish to grant to each other, nor the right of regional economic integration organizations referred to in article 16 which are Contracting Parties to apply their own legislation to controls at their internal frontiers, on condition that this does not reduce in any way the facilities deriving from this Convention.
This Convention, deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, shall be open to the participation of all States and of regional economic integration organizations constituted by sovereign States which have competence to negotiate, conclude and apply international agreements on matters covered by the Convention.
The regional economic integration organizations referred to in paragraph 1 may, for the matters within their competence, exercise on their own behalf the rights and fulfil the responsibilities which this Convention otherwise confers on their Member States which are Contracting Parties to this Convention. In such cases the Member States of the said Organizations shall not be entitled to exercise individually such rights, including the right to vote.
States and the regional economic integration organizations referred to above may become Contracting Parties to this Convention:
by depositing an instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval after signing it, or
by depositing an instrument of accession.
This Convention shall be open from 1 April 1983 until 31 March 1984 inclusive for signature at the Office of the United Nations at Geneva by all States and the regional economic integration organizations referred to in paragraph 1.
From 1 April 1983 it shall also be open for their accession.
The instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
This Convention shall enter into force three months after the date on which five States have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
After five States have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, this Convention shall enter into force for further Contracting Parties three months after the date of the deposit of their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
Any instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession deposited after the entry into force of an amendment to this Convention shall be deemed to apply to this Convention as amended.
Any such instrument deposited after an amendment has been accepted in accordance with the procedure in article 22 but before it has entered into force shall be deemed to apply to this Convention as amended on the date when the amendment enters into force.
Any Contracting Party may denounce this Convention by so notifying the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Denunciation shall take effect six months after the date of receipt by the Secretary-General of the notification of denunciation.
Article 19. Termination
If, after the entry into force of this Convention, the number of States which are Contracting Parties is for any period of 12 consecutive months reduced to less than five, the Convention shall cease to have effect from the end of the 12-month period.
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 or by other means of settlement.
Any dispute between two or more Contracting Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention which cannot be settled by the means indicated in paragraph 1 of this article shall, at the request of one of them, be referred to an arbitration tribunal composed as follows: each party to the dispute shall appoint an arbitrator and these arbitrators shall appoint another arbitrator, who shall be chairman. If, three months after receipt of a request, one of the parties has failed to appoint an arbitrator or if the arbitrators have failed to elect the chairman, any of the parties may request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to appoint an arbitrator or the chairman of the arbitration tribunal.
The decision of the arbitration tribunal established under the provisions of paragraph 2 shall be final and binding on the parties to the dispute.
The arbitration tribunal shall determine its own rules of procedure.
The arbitration tribunal shall take its decisions by majority vote and on the basis of the treaties existing between the parties to the dispute and of general international law.
Any controversy which may arise between the parties to the dispute as regards the interpretation and execution of the award may be submitted by any of the parties for judgement to the arbitration tribunal which made the award.
Each party to the dispute shall bear the cost of its own appointed arbitrator and of its representatives in the arbitral proceedings; the cost of the chairman and the remaining costs shall be borne in equal parts by the parties to the dispute.
Any Contracting Party may, at the time of signing, ratifying, accepting or approving this Convention or acceding to it, declare that it does not consider itself bound by article 20, paragraphs 2 to 7, of this Convention. Other Contracting Parties shall not be bound by these paragraphs 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 of this article may at any time withdraw such reservation by notifying the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Apart from the reservations provided for in paragraph 1 of this article, no reservation to this Convention shall be permitted.
This Convention, including its annexes, may be amended upon the proposal of a Contracting Party by the procedure specified in this article.
Any proposed amendment to this Convention shall be considered in an Administrative Committee composed of all the Contracting Parties in accordance with the rules of procedure set out in annex 7. Any such amendment considered or prepared during the meeting of the Administrative Committee and adopted by it shall be communicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Contracting Parties for their acceptance.
Any proposed amendment communicated in accordance with the preceding paragraph shall come into force with respect to all Contracting Parties three months after the expiry of a period of 12 months following the date of communication of the proposed amendment during which period no objection to the proposed amendment has been communicated to the Secretary-General of the United Nations by a State which is a Contracting Party or by a regional economic integration organization, itself a Contracting Party, which then acts within the conditions specified in article 16, paragraph 2, of this Convention.
If an objection to the proposed amendment has been communicated in accordance with paragraph 3 of this article, the amendment shall be deemed not to have been accepted and shall have no effect whatsoever.
Article 23. Requests, communications and objections
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all Contracting Parties and all States of any request, communication or objection under article 22 and of the date on which any amendment enters into force.
Article 24. Review Conference
After this Convention has been in force for five 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, indicating the proposals which should be dealt with by the conference. In such a case:
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall notify all the Contracting Parties of the request and invite them to submit, within a period of three months, their comments on the original proposals and such other proposals as they may wish the conference to consider;
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall also communicate to all the Contracting Parties the text of any other proposals made and shall convene a review conference if, within a period of six months from the date of that communication, not less than one third of the Contracting Parties notify the Secretary-General of the United Nations of their concurrence with the convening of such a conference;
However, if the Secretary-General of the United Nations considers that a review proposal may be regarded as a proposed amendment under paragraph 1 of article 22, he may, by agreement with the Contracting Party which has made the proposal, implement the amendment procedure provided for by article 22 instead of the review procedure.
Article 25. Notifications
In addition to the notifications and communications provided for in articles 23 and 24, the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall notify all States of the following:
signatures, ratifications, acceptances, approvals and accessions under article 16;
the dates of entry into force of this Convention in accordance with article 17;
denunciations under article 18;
the termination of this convention under article 19;
reservations under article 21.
Article 26. Certified true copies
After 31 March 1984 the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit two certified true copies of this Convention to each of the Contracting Parties and to all States which are not Contracting Parties.
DONE at Geneva, this twenty-first day of October one thousand nine hundred and eighty-two, in a single original, of which the English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned plenipotentiaries, being duly authorized thereto, have signed this Convention.