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T.Doc.108-7 PROTOCOL OF 1997 AMENDING MARPOL CONVENTION ...
108th Congress Treaty Doc. 1st Session SENATE 108-6 _______________________________________________________________________ PROTOCOL OF AMENDMENT TO INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON SIMPLIFICATION AND HARMONIZATION OF CUSTOMS PROCEDURES __________ MESSAGE from THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES transmitting PROTOCOL OF AMENDMENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE SIMPLIFICATION AND HARMONIZATION OF CUSTOMS PROCEDURES DONE AT BRUSSELS ON JUNE 26, 1999 <GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT> April 30, 2003.--The Treaty was read the first time, and together with the accompanying papers, referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations and ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL ---------- The White House, April 30, 2003. To the Senate of the United States: I transmit herewith for Senate advice and consent to accession, the Protocol of Amendment to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures done at Brussels on June 26, 1999. The Protocol amends the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures done at Kyoto on May 18, 1973, and replaces the Annexes to the 1973 Convention with a General Annex and 10 Specific Annexes (together, the ``Amended Convention''). I am also transmitting, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State on the Amended Convention. The Amended Convention seeks to meet the needs of international trade and customs services through the simplification and harmonization of customs procedures. It responds to modernization in business and administrative methods and techniques and to the growth of international trade, without compromising standards of customs control. Accession by the United States would further the U.S. interest in reducing non-tariff barriers to international trade. By acceding to the Protocol, a state consents to be bound by the amended 1973 Convention and the new General Annex. At the same time, or anytime thereafter, Parties have the option of accepting any of the Specific Annexes (or Chapters thereof), and may at that time enter reservations with respect to any Recommended Practices contained in the Specific Annexes. In accordance with these terms, I propose that the United States accept seven of the Specific Annexes in their entirety and all the Chapters, but one of each of two other Specific Annexes (A- E, G, and H, as well as Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of F, and Chapters 1, 3, 4, and 5 of J), and enter the reservations proposed by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection as set forth in the enclosure to the report of the Department of State. The provisions for which reservation is recommended conflict with current U.S. legislation or regulations. With these proposed reservations, no new implementing legislation is necessary in order to comply with the Amended Convention. Accession to the Protocol by the United States would contribute to important U.S. interests. First, accession by the United States would benefit the United States and U.S. businesses by facilitating greater economic growth, increasing foreign investment, and stimulating U.S. exports through more predictable, standard, and harmonized customs procedures governing cross-border trade transactions. Setting forth standardized and simplified methods for conducting customs business is important for U.S. trade interests in light of the demands of increased trade flows, as is the use of modernized technology and techniques for customs facilitation. These achievements can best be pursued by the United States as a Party to the Amended Convention. Second, through early accession, the United States can continue to take a leadership role in the areas of customs and international trade facilitation as the U.S. accession would encourage other nations, particularly developing nations, to accede as well. I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Protocol and give its advice and consent to accession. George W. Bush. The White House, April 30, 2003. LETTER OF SUBMITTAL ---------- Department of State, Washington, February 6, 2003. The President, The White House. The President: I have the honor to submit to you the Protocol of Amendment to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures done at Brussels on June 26, 1999. The Protocol amends the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures done at Kyoto on May 18, 1973 (the ``original Convention''), which entered into force for the United States on January 28, 1984. The Secretary of the Treasury and I recommend that the Protocol be transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent to accession, including nine of its Specific Annexes, subject to certain U.S. reservations. The proposed text of these reservations is enclosed. The original Convention entered into force in 1974 and currently has 62 Parties, which include many of the largest U.S. trading partners. The United States acceded to the original Convention in October 1983. However, recent changes in technology and patterns of international trade have made the original Convention outdated. In addition, the original Convention is not sufficiently comprehensive, requiring acceptance of only one of its 31 Annexes in order for a state or eligible customs union to become a Party. The United States took an active role in negotiating the Protocol in order to produce the kind of modernization and customs harmonization that is becoming increasingly necessary to U.S. exporters and other traders alike. The revision process also included participation by the private sector through various groups such as the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Federation of Brokers Association and the International Express Couriers Conference. On June 26, 1999, after 4 years of study and deliberation, the Protocol was adopted by the members of the World Customs Organizations (formerly known as the Customs Cooperation Council) in Brussels, Belgium. The Protocol amends the original Convention and replaces the Annexes of the original Convention with a General Annex and with 10 Specific Annexes (together, the Amended Convention). By acceding to the Protocol a state consents to be bound by the amended 1973 original Convention (Appendix I to the Protocol) and the General Annex (Appendix II to the Protocol). At the same time, or anytime thereafter, Parties have the option of accepting any of the Specific Annexes (Appendix III to theProtocol), or Chapters therein (each Chapter contains Standards and Recommended Practices), and may enter reservations with respect to any Recommended Practices. The Amended Convention is designed to enable Parties to better meet the needs of much expanded international trade through the simplification and harmonization of customs procedures. It responds to the modernization of business and administrative methods and techniques and to the growth of international trade, without compromising standards of customs control. The amended Convention recognizes that simplification and harmonization of customs procedures can be accomplished by applying, inter alia, the following principles: continuous modernization of customs procedures; predictable, consistent and transparent application of customs procedures; availability of information on customs laws, regulations, guidelines and practices; adoption of modern techniques such as risk management, audit based controls and the maximum use of information technology; cooperation of relevant international standards; and a transparent system of administrative and judicial review of customs decisions. The General Annex contains 10 Chapters that encompass standards applicable to all customs procedures and practices covered by the Amended Convention and that must be observed by all Parties to the Amended Convention. In particular, General Annex Chapters 1 and 2 contain general principles and definitions. Chapter 3 sets forth standards on clearance and other customs formalities. Chapter 4 sets forth standards on assessment and collection and payment of duties and taxes, while Chapter 5 concerns security to ensure fulfillment of a customs-related obligation. Chapter 6 sets forth standards for customs control such as use of risk management. Chapter 7 focuses on the application of information technology to support customs operations. Chapter 8 relates to rights of third parties representing others before customs services, and Chapter 9 addresses the availability of information on customs matters. Chapter 10 concerns appeals in customs matters. The Chapters of the General Annex contain Standards and Transitional Standards. However, pursuant to Article 13 of the Amended Convention, a Party has 36 months from the time the General Annex has entered into force for that Party within which to implement the provisions contained in a Standard and 60 months within which to implement the provisions of a Transitional Standard. In addition to the General Annex there are 10 Specific Annexes (enumerated A-K, although there is no Specific Annex I), which contain provisions applicable to one or more of theindividual customs procedures and practices referred to in the Amended Convention. Pursuant to Article 4 of the Protocol and Article 12 of the Amended Convention, a Party may accept one or more of the Specific Annexes or one or more of the Chapters that compose a Specific Annex. Each Specific Annex Chapter includes both Standards and Recommended Practices (and may also contain specialized definitions). In particular, Specific Annex A concerns the arrival of goods in a customs territory and addresses formalities prior to the lodgment of the Goods Declaration as well as temporary storage of goods. Specific Annexes B and C address general customs procedures related to importation and exportation. Specific Annex D deals with customs warehouses and free zones. Specific Annex E concerns transit of goods. Specific Annex F focuses on goods imported or exported for processing, while Specific Annex G concerns temporary admission. Specific Annex H relates to customs services' approaches (and due process matters) related to branches of customs law. Specific Annex J describes special customs procedures pertaining to, among other things, travelers, postal traffic and processing of aid consignments for disasters. Finally, Specific Annex K concerns rules of origin. By accepting a Specific Annex or Chapter(s) of a Specific Annex a Party is bound by all the Standards and Recommended Practices found therein, unless, pursuant to Article 4 of the Protocol and Article 12 of the Amended Convention, a Party enters reservations in respect of Recommended Practices (but not Standards) in a Specific Annex it has accepted to accommodate differences in its national legislation (defined in Article 1 of the Amended Convention to include laws, regulations and other measures). It is proposed that the United States accept seven of the Specific Annexes in their entirety and all the Chapters but one of each of two other Specific Annexes (A-E, G, and H, as well as Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of F and Chapters 1, 3, 4, and 5 of J), subject to the enclosed reservations proposed by the U.S. Customs Service. By not accepting Specific Annex F Chapter 4 and Specific Annex J Chapter 2, which contain Standards inconsistent with U.S. law, and with the proposed reservations, no new implementing legislation would be necessary. The tenth Specific Annex (Specific Annex K) deals with rules of origin, which the United States is not seeking to accept at this time as the harmonization work between the World Customs Organization and the World Trade Organization on this issue is not yet completed. Under Article 12(3) of the Amended Convention, the United States would be obligated periodically to review the provisions of the Amended Convention for which it has enteredreservations to consider the possibility of withdrawing any of its reservations and to notify the Secretary of the World Customs Organization of the results of that review. The Protocol will enter into force 3 months after 40 contracting parties have consented to be bound by it. To date, the following countries have consented to be bound: Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Latvia, Lesotho, Morocco, New Zealand and Uganda. A customs or economic union, which has competence to adopt its own regulations on matters governed by the Amended Convention that are binding on its member states, may become a Party to the Protocol. Pursuant to Article 8(5) of Appendix I, such union shall inform the Depositary of its competence with respect to matters governed by the Amended Convention. Pursuant to Article 8(5) of Appendix I, such a union shall, for matters within its competence, exercise in its own name the rights, and fulfill the responsibilities which the Amended Convention confers on union members that are Parties. In such cases, these union members shall not be entitled to individually exercise these rights, including the right to vote. Therefore, the European Community (EC), were it to become a Party, could only exercise in its own name the right to vote of those EC members that are parties to the Amended convention. The EC would not have a vote in addition to those of its member states that are Parties. Though such unions were eligible to be Parties to the original Convention--and the EC is a Party to the original Convention--they were not entitled to vote under the original Convention. The United States, by acceding to the Protocol, can continue to take a leadership role in the areas of customs and international trade facilitation. Accession by the United States to the Protocol is also significant because it will encourage other nations, particularly developing nations, to accede as well. The U.S. accession would benefit the United States and U.S. businesses directly by facilitating greater economic growth, increased foreign investment and stimulation of U.S. exports through more predictable, standard and harmonized customs procedures governing cross-borders trade transactions. The Amended Convention embodies standardized global trade processes and data standards that are critical for fast, efficient and reliable delivery of U.S. products overseas. The standardized processes in the Amended Convention would not only enhance the ability of U.S. businesses to deliver to their current customers, but would expand export markets and access to new customers and new partners in the global economy. The Amended Convention would also advance U.S. interests in reducing non-tariff barriers to international trade. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Customs Service and the U.S. Inter-Agency Committee on the Customs Cooperation Council concur in my recommendation that the Protocol be submitted to the Senate for its consideration and advice and consent to accession. Respectfully submitted, Colin L. Powell. Enclosure: As stated. <GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT>
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