39. Summary of U.S. intervention to World Customs Organization (June 2007)
AGENDA ITEM XIII – OTHER BUSINESS
PARTICIPATION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
IN THE WORLD CUSTOMS ORGANIZATION
- The Delegate from the United States intervened under this item regarding the recent Council Decision regarding participation of the European Community in the WCO. He noted that in June 2007, the WCO Council took action in an attempt to confer rights “akin to” membership on the European Community (EC) on an interim basis pending formal amendment of the WCO Convention.
- The United States Delegate expressed that the United States believes that the Council exceeded its authority under the current text of the WCO Convention when it purported to grant rights “akin to” membership to the EC. It is the United States position that the “akin to” resolution (ATR) has no legal effect. The United States acknowledges, however, that the ATR reflects the desire of the WCO Membership, including the desire of the United States, that the EC should have a substantial role in the WCO. The United States, therefore, is prepared to accept as a political statement of the WCO Membership those parts of the ATR that are consistent with the WCO Convention and the Rules of Procedure. In addition, the United States considers that the meaning of draft amendment to Article VIII of the WCO Convention to permit EC Membership must be formally clarified.
- Accordingly, the United States urges the Secretariat to prepare a resolution for the June Policy Commission’s consideration and Council’s adoption that includes a statement of the Parties’ intent and makes clear the Council’s understanding that the proposed amendment to Article VIII allows the Council to make special provisions (a) affecting the vote both of Customs and Economic Unions that have become parties to the WCO Convention (and thus Members of the WCO), and of States that are parties to the WCO Convention (and thus Members of the WCO) that are also members of such Unions; and (b) that, where a Customs and Economic Union becomes a party to the WCO Convention and votes, States parties that are also members of such a Union cannot exercise their right to vote.
- The Delegate from the United States offered to present Policy Commission Members, in the next month or two, a paper outlining its legal concerns and suggesting a possible way forward.
- The offer was accepted.