Committee on Customs Co-operation to be Set up Under EPA


A special Committee on Customs Co-operation and Trade Facilitation is to be established, with the chairperson rotated annually between the parties, under the recently negotiated Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between CARIFORUM states and the European Union (EU).
According to the agreement, the Committee, which will report to the CARIFORUM-European Commission (EC) Trade and Development Committee, will be responsible for monitoring the implementation and administration of the relevant provisions; carrying out the tasks and functions set down in the Protocol on rules of origin; and providing a forum for consultation between the parties with regard to the obligations provided under the Protocol on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters.
The body will also seek to enhance co-operation and dialogue between the parties on tariff matters, customs legislation and procedures, mutual administrative assistance in customs matters; and discuss issues relating to technical assistance activities.
Under the customs and trade facilitation aspect of the agreement, the EU and the CARIFORUM signatories have agreed to ensure that all legislation, procedures and fees and charges, as well as, whenever possible, the necessary explanations are made publicly available, as far as possible through electronic means.
They have also agreed on the need for timely and regular dialogue with economic operators on legislative proposals related to customs and trade procedures; that wherever possible, when new or amended legislation and procedures are introduced, information is made available to the economic operators in advance. It is expected that fair competition will be promoted within the trading community, via the use of non-arbitrary and publicly accessible procedures, such as Memoranda of Understanding, making appropriate use of those promulgated by the World Customs Organization (WCO). Furthermore, the parties have agreed to ensure that their respective customs and related requirements and procedures follow best practices, and remain as little trade-restrictive as possible.
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