(Mar. 4, 2011) The Mission of the Republic of Romania to the European Union deposited Romania's instrument of accession to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (the revised Kyoto Convention) on February 22, 2011. It will enter into force in Romania on May 22. “With Romania's accession,” World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya stated, “all 27 Member States of the European Union are now Contracting Parties to this important Customs instrument which is acknowledged as one of the critical global standards for managing cross-border trade.” (Press Release, World Customs Union, Romania Accedes to the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention (Feb. 23, 2011).)
The Convention entered into force in 1974 and was updated and adopted as the revised Kyoto Convention by the WCO Council in June 1999. The WCO considers it to be “the blueprint for modern and efficient Customs procedures in the 21st century.” (The Revised Kyoto Convention (last visited Mar. 3, 2011) [click on link in right-hand column for Convention text].) Some key aspects of the Convention are the use of simplified customs procedures “in a predictable and transparent environment,” the application of risk management and audit-based controls, coordinated interventions with border agencies, the maximum use of information technology, a strong partnership with the stakeholders, and a system of appeals that is readily accessible. (Id.) The revised Kyoto Convention entered into force on February 3, 2006, and now has 73 Contracting Parties (the Democratic Republic of the Congo has signed, but not ratified, the Convention). (Id.; Press Release, supra).
The WCO is self-described as “the only intergovernmental organisation exclusively focused on Customs matters,” which is recognized “as the voice of the global Customs community.” Among its most noteworthy efforts are the development of global standards, trade supply chain security, and anti-counterfeiting and piracy initiatives. The organization also maintains the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (known as the Harmonized System) and administers the technical aspects of the World Trade Organization agreements on customs valuation and rules of origin. (About Us, WCO website & What Is the Harmonized System (HS)? (both last visited Mar. 3, 2011).)