Article 7.2: Electronic Payment
What is covered?
Article 7.2 of the TFA requires that Members shall, to the extent practicable, adopt or maintain procedure to allow the traders the option of making electronic payments of duties, taxes, fees and charges on import, export or transit collected by customs authorities related to importation and exportation.
Article 7.2 poses a legal obligation upon WTO Members to arrange the electronic payment of duties, taxes, fees and charges imposed on importation and exportation to customs authorities. However, the nature of the obligation is softened by the use of the words “shall, to the extent practicable”, which means that each Member will have to assess its capability to adopt or maintain this Measure, and will be guided by different degrees of “practicability” in the implementation. Therefore, Members that are struggling with poor IT infrastructures may graduate towards electronic payments progressively and partially – either in terms of scope or geographical coverage – on the basis of their structural conditions.
What is not covered?
In this case, it is left to the discretion of Members to decide which methods and channels they want to make available as part of the electronic payments. Although not listed in the Measure, these may include payments through credit or debit cards, online bank transfers and mobile payments among others. There is also no mention of how the countries, which may not have the existing capability to adopt electronic payment solution, should endeavour to move toward this requirement.
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