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Khalifa issues federal decree on UAE's official accession to Revised Kyoto Convention

posted on 31/05/2010: 1082 views

The President, HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has issued the Federal Decree No 33 of 2010 regarding the accession of the United Arab Emirates to the Revised Kyoto Convention in order to facilitate and coordinate the customs procedures (the Text, the General Appendix '&' Appendix A) after the Decree has been approved by Their Highnesses members of the Supreme Council, Rulers of the Emirates.

In its Item 2, the Decree, instructs the Federal Customs Authority Chairman to take the actions required for finalising the accession to, and implementation of, the Convention.

Mr. Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Acting General Manager of the Federal Customs Authority, said that joining the Revised Kyoto Convention, with its advanced customs procedures, would enhance trade activities and increase cooperation between the UAE and the world taking into consideration the country's status and position on the map of the world trade.

He added, "Joining this Convention will benefit the UAE's economy since it will facilitate and increase international trade activities and consolidate the efforts currently made to support the country's competitiveness in this regard by the application of international security initiatives and making readily- available the data in order to apply standards for specifications of high risk trade deals and the application of secure technical systems, In addition, the Convention will hopefully facilitates customs procedures through the cancellation of policies '&' procedures that restrict and affect the principles of free market and thereby lead to high and unnecessary expenses. It also promotes various brands of market products through encoding and facilitation of goods customs procedures, thus reinforcing the effectiveness of the above procedures through minimising steps currently in practice for customs clearance operations".

Mr. Al Bustani pointed out that the commitment of the member countries to employing the same standards will enhance the efficiency of customs procedures and save time required for processing the customs clearance operation. Moreover, the application of special standards for importers and their classifying according to risk management will facilitate the tasks undertaken by the customs authorities dealing with this sector, and reduce possible financial losses through the enhanced transparency application and advanced technologies.

The Acting General Manager of the Federal Customs Authority added that as soon as the decree was issued, the Authority started addressing the local customs departments, the Ministries of Economy, foreign Trade, Finance, and Foreign Affairs, as well as customs departments in all GCC states and the World Customs Organisation to notify them that the UAE had honoured its commitment within the GCC organisation to signing the convention before the proposed date - end of June, 2010 - to become the second GCC signatory state, after the state of Qatar. It is worth mentioning here that 64 countries have already joined the Convention.

He went on to say that the Federal Customs Authority formed a national work group, comprising representatives of local Customs Departments and the ministries concerned, that would be in charge of implementing the Convention, examining the articles of the General Appendix and Appendix A to determine the compatibility of the customs procedures that are currently implemented in the country with the requirements of the Convention, and identifying strengths and weaknesses, and developing an action plan to implement the Convention in accordance with the customs procedures. The group would submit to the Board of Directors periodical reports on its performance and its recommendations for their consideration and action.

Mr. Al Bustani pointed out that the Authority had made great efforts to finalise the procedures of joining the Convention within its obligations as part of the Gulf Federal Customs Committee, and other committees of the AGCC. He added that the GCC countries all showed deep commitment to streamlining their national laws and legislation with international standards and regulations. Based on the principles of the AGCC economic agreement on that call for planning and designing their collective economic and trade relations with other states and regional and international economic blocs. The UAE formed a technical working team to prepare a detailed study of the Convention, and the recommendations of that team have been approved by the AGCC working group.

He also said "Later on, the Economic '&' Finance Cooperation Committee of the GCC in their meeting No. 77, approved the simultaneous accession of the AGCC states to the Revised Kyoto Convention ( the Text, General Appendix and Appendix A), within the framework of the International Customs Organisation. Minutes of the meeting of the Financial '&' Economic Cooperation Committee (77) was submitted to the Ministerial Council of Services, and duly approved by the ministerial resolution No. (2/212) of 2008. Afterwards, the Financial '&' Economic Committee of the GCC in its meeting (82) issued a resolution approving the accession provided that state members should finalise the joining procedures and submit their relevant documents by the end of first half of 2010.

He stated that the study prepared by the Federal Customs Authority in coordination with the local Customs Departments pointed out that although the UAE implements many of the standards and provisions of the Revised Kyoto Convention, it cannot benefit from its provisions as it is not a signatory to the Convention. Therefore, the Authority has, in coordination with local Customs Departments, studied the joining procedures and commitments of the Convention. A technical team was formed by the Authority, the local Customs Departments and other competent bodies across the state to take part in the activities of the Gulf Technical Team '&' the Gulf Legal Committee that were charged with studying this Convention.

The Authority's Acting General Manager added, "The Authority has addressed the local customs departments in relation with joining the Convention, and they supported the idea, and requested the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this connection. The Ministry supported joining the Convention. Therefore, the Authority submitted a memorandum to the Council of Ministers requesting their approval for joining the Revised Kyoto Convention in order to facilitate and coordinate customs procedures (Text, General Appendix and Appendix A). The Authority requested guidance on the ratification according to constitutional procedures. The Cabinet approved the joining earlier this year, and finally a Federal Decree on the subject was issued, and consequently, practical steps for implementation were initiated".

Mr. Al Bustani mentioned that the Revised Kyoto Convention is one of the most important international conventions of the World Customs Organisation in the field of international customs practices. It comprises standards for best international practices in facilitating and coordinating customs procedures. It also aims to eliminate disparity between customs procedures and practices of the signatories which impedes international trade and other international trade exchanges. It can facilitate international trade without negatively affecting standards of customs control. It also includes a number of basic principles such as the implementation of programs for the continuity of customs practices and procedures, and thus enhances and improves efficiency and effectiveness. It also helps the consistent and transparent implementation of measures and procedures, and provides all parties with information required in relation to laws, customs regulations, and administrative directives. It defines the utilisation of specific risk management and procedure control based on auditing, and information technology, as well as cooperation with other local authorities, customs departments and the private sector and specifies methods for the application of international standards related to customs work.

It is worth mentioning that the Convention is comprised of a (Text) General Appendix and special appendices. The Text deals with the definition of the Convention terms and administration by a special management committee. It also addresses the ratification of the Convention, its application and settlement of disputes that may arise thereupon, as well as the enforcement of the Convention. The General Appendix highlights the general rules and procedures incorporating the provisions of the Convention into local customs legislation. It binds the party concerned to establish a consultative relationship with the private sector in order to facilitate the achievement of best practices and results in the customs business. It also regulates some customs procedures such as goods manifest, the documents required, goods inspection, customs control, and use of information technology and the resumption of customs matters. The Special Appendices of the Convention, on the other hand, regulate other customs operations relating to arrival of goods to the Customs Department. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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