Article 10.7: Common Border Procedures and Uniform Documentation Requirements
What is covered?
The scope of this Measure covers:
- The border control procedures across all borders of WTO Members;
- The documents required across all borders of WTO Members.
As a general rule, the Measure requires WTO Members to apply, at all the border points across their territories, (i) the same customs procedures and (ii) uniform documentation requirements for the release and clearance of goods. However, this general obligation is mitigated by specific derogations listed in the Article.
By adding the qualifying language “Nothing in this Article shall prevent a Member from”, the Measure details some derogations to this general rule, whereby Members are permitted to differentiate their procedures and documentation requirements for release and clearance of goods throughout their territory:
- Based on the nature and type of goods, or their means of transport;
- Based on risk management;
- To provide total or partial exemption from import duties or taxes;
- To apply electronic filing or processing;
- In a manner consistent with the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures.
Although this part of the Measure enlists distinct circumstances in which Members can differentiate their procedures and documentation requirements, Members are nonetheless encouraged to ensure compliance with the general rule as much as possible, in order to foster consistency and regularity.
What is not covered?
The Measure does not specify which common procedure requirements should be adopted. Moreover, this provision does not entail any requirements for all border points to offer the same range of services. However, border points, which must offer the same types of services, should do so in an identical manner not to create imbalances.
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