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International convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures

The Council has adopted a Decision regarding the Community's accession to the Protocol of Amendment to the Kyoto Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures. The Protocol is intended to meet the present requirements of international trade and solve the problems arising from its non-obligatory nature, which has led in practice to a very piecemeal application.


Council Decision 2003/231/EC of 17 March 2003 concerning the accession of the European Community to the Protocol of Amendment to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures (Kyoto Convention).


The Community has been a Contracting Party to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures since 1974. The Protocol amends the Preamble, the articles of the Convention, the General Annex and specific annexes. The revisions are known as the "revised Kyoto Convention". Initially, the European Community will accede only to the revised Protocol, including Appendices I and II. Accession to the revised specific annexes will come at a later date.

Implementation of the revised Kyoto Convention will yield results by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administrations and, therefore, economic competitiveness. It will also encourage investment and the development of industry and may increase the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in international trade.

Contracting Parties undertake to promote the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures and to conform to the standards, transitional standards and recommended practices in the annexes to this Convention. The parties may grant facilities greater than those laid down in the Convention.

The Convention comprises a body, a General Annex and specific annexes. The annexes include definitions, standards (some of which are transitional), and recommended practices. The annexes are accompanied by Guidelines that are not binding for the Contracting Parties.

A Management Committee has been set up to consider the implementation of this Convention, secure uniformity in its interpretation and application, and any proposed amendments. The Committee is made up of representatives from the Contracting Parties. The competent administration of any entity qualified to become a Contracting Party or any Member of the World Trade Organisation may attend the sessions of the Management Committee as an observer. Representatives from international governmental and non-governmental organisations may be invited to attend the sessions as observers.

The Management Committee:

  • recommends amendments to the body of the Convention;
  • recommends amendments to the annexes and the incorporation of new chapters;
  • decides to amend or incorporate new recommended practices;
  • considers the implementation of the provisions of the Convention;
  • reviews and updates the Guidelines;
  • considers any issues of relevance to the Convention that are referred to it;
  • informs the Permanent Technical Committee and the Council of its decisions.

The relevant administrations of the Contracting Parties communicate to the Secretariat-General of the Council proposals for amendments to the Convention and requests for the inclusion of items on the agenda of the Committee sessions. The Secretariat-General of the Council brings proposals for amendments to the attention of the administrations of members and observers.

The Management Committee meets at least once each year. It elects its own Chairman and Vice-Chairman. If a decision cannot be arrived at by consensus, matters before the Committee are decided by a vote among the Contracting Parties present. Each Contracting Party may vote on matters relating to the interpretation, application or amendment of the body and General Annex of the Convention. Only Contracting Parties that have accepted specific annexes may vote upon them. All Contracting Parties may vote on new specific annexes or new chapters of specific annexes.

Any Member of the Council and any Member of the United Nations or its specialised agencies or any customs or economic union may become a Contracting Party to this Convention. Contracting Parties stipulate the Annex or specific annexes that they accept at the time of their accession to the Convention.

Contracting Parties accept the provisions of the Convention, and are bound by all the standards therein. Contracting Parties may however enter reservations, stating the differences existing between the provisions of their national legislation and those of the practice(s) concerned. When reservations have been granted, the Member in question examines the possibility of withdrawing the reservations every three years, and notifies the Council Secretariat of the national legislation that prevents the withdrawal of the reservation.

Whenever possible, any disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention are settled by negotiation. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the dispute is referred to the Management Committee which considers it and makes recommendations for its settlement.

Accession to the Convention is for an unlimited duration, but any Contracting Party may denounce it at any time after its entry into force. This also applies to the specific annexes or chapters therein. If a Contracting Party decides to withdraw its acceptance of the General Annex, it is deemed to have denounced the Convention.

All signatures and all instruments of ratification or accession are deposited with the Secretary-General of the Council.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2003/231/EC 17.03.2003 - OJ L 86 of 03.04.2003


Council Decision 2004/485/EC of 26 April 2004 amending Decision 2003/231/EC concerning the accession of the European Community to the Protocol of Amendment to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures (Kyoto Convention) [Official Journal L 162 of 30.04.2004].

Some of the States that acceded to the European Union on 1 May 2004 had already deposited their instruments of accession to the Protocol of Amendment to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures. To avoid a situation in which some Member States were members of an international convention to which the Community had not yet acceded, the deposit of instruments of accession to the Protocol of the Community of the one part and of the Member States of the other part took place on 30 April 2004.

Last updated: 28.02.2005
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