Formal trade consultation

Definition/Scope

Formal trade consultations are regular meetings of Customs administrations with representatives of local, regional and country-wide trading and transport communities to discuss new developments and problem areas with a view to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Customs processes and procedures.

Problem statement

Without formal consultations with the trade, Customs will not be able to draft laws and regulations that take into account the needs of the business community. Consequently, such laws and regulations could lack the vitally important balance between trade facilitation and control, giving a negative impact on the economic and social development of the country.

Implementation Guidance

Formal consultative relationships with the trade are required by Standard 1.3 of the Revised Kyoto Convention. As described in the ICC Customs Guidelines,in particular Guideline 29 on trade consultation, the ideal solution is a formal consultative committee representing all major trade partners, including exporters/importers, agents, banks, carriers and insurers. Provided that Customs has specifically trained staff, such formal committee structures should be complemented by client-managers who maintain regular contact with compliant traders. This committee should also arrange for ad hoc seminars, workshops and conferences on subjects of special interest.

The consultative committee should be managed by Customs, but it is possible to have co-chairs, one from Customs and one from the business side. Where possible, export development agencies, port authorities or Chambers of Commerce should play a vital role and, in some cases, may operate the Customs consultative committee, usually with full support of the Customs administration.

Finally, formal trade consultation is becoming more and more important on a regional and international level due to increasing globalization. International organizations and economic groupings are therefore encouraged to establish and maintain such arrangements.

Additional information (references, examples, etc.)

Examples of trade consultations are the Trade Contact Group of the European Union, the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of Customs and Border Protection (COAC) in the United States or the Business Advisory Council of APEC.