Article 6.1: General Disciplines on Fees and Charges Imposed on or in Connection with Importation and Exportation

Members are required to publish fees and charges related to importation and exportation in a transparent and predictable manner, and to periodically review them according to the cost-recovery principle

 

What is covered?

Scope

Pursuant to Article 6.1 of the TFA, Member countries of the WTO are requested to publish information on all fees and charges – other than import and export duties and other than taxes within the purview of Article III of GATT 1994 – imposed by Members on or in connection with importation and exportation.
More specifically, the information made public must necessarily include:

  • The fees and charges that will be applied;
  • The reason for the imposition of such fees and charges;
  • The responsible authority who will collect the fees and charges;
  • Information about when and how payment is to be done.

Publication of fees and charges

This Measure requires from the Members countries that all fees and charges imposed on or in connection with importation and exportation must be made publicly available – “shall be published” in accordance with Article 1 of the TFA on Publication, so as to ensure that traders have easy and transparent access to the relevant information they need to gather in view of paying fees and charges necessary to import or export.
As a corollary of this Measure, in publishing information on fees and charges Members must specify – “the information shall include” – at least the applicable fees and charges that traders are requested to pay, the reasons for their existence and imposition, the responsible levying authority within their territory and the modalities of payment as a minimum requirement.

Reasonable period of time

Except for urgent circumstances, Members must put in place procedures that ensure that an adequate period of time is secured – shall be accorded – between the official publication of a new or amended fee or charge and their entry into force. This provision enables traders to get acquainted with the new or amended fee and charge before it can have full legal effects and be enforceable, so that economic operators can better adapt to the new obligations. The Measure goes even further by stating that Member States are required not to levy the new or amended fees and charges until information on them has been correctly and exhaustively provided.

Periodic review

This Measure also requires each Member to undertake a periodic review – “shall periodically review” – of the fees and charges imposed with the purpose of reducing these as much as possible. The reduction of fees and charges is mandated to be in terms of the number of fees and charges and the diversity of coverage. Whereas the review is mandatory, the reduction of number and diversity of fees might happen “where practicable”.

What is not covered?

As clarified in the Article itself, this Measure does not apply to import and export duties and taxes within the purview of Article III of GATT 1994, and does not specify the period of time that should exist between the publication of new or amended fees and charges and their entry into force. Besides information regarding fees and charges published in terms of Article 1 of the TFA, Members may place the information about fees and charges on the web voluntarily.

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