The World Trade Organization (WTO) held an informal workshop in Geneva on October 27 about valuation databases and reference pricing serving. The forum provided an occasion to share experiences and perspectives on the use of customs valuation databases. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) was welcomed as the only non-governmental actor and as the representative of the trade community.
The long-anticipated event was the result of several ICC appeals to the WTO and World Customs Organization (WCO), over the past two years, to address the misapplication of valuation databases to set reference and minimum prices. The closed workshop was attended by approximately 100 participants comprising WTO delegates, representatives of the WCO and Customs agencies.
During the workshop ICC provided business views which offered valuable insights on the use of customs valuation databases. Mark Neville (International Trade Counsellors), a member of the ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation, raised ICC’s concerns on the proliferating misuse of valuation databases. While acknowledging that these databases can provide a useful tool for risk assessment, Neville recounted traders’ experience and provided a number of country examples in which WTO members were using valuation databases to set reference and minimum prices – a practice prohibited by Article 7 of the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement.
“These practices are in violation of the positive basis of the price actually paid or payable which is the core principle of transaction value under the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement,” said Neville.
The workshop was the first time the WTO discussed the misuse of valuation databases. Following the event ICC will continue to actively engage with the WTO and the World Customs Organization as the issue evolves.
Staff contact: Kristin Isabelli