WCO Council Current Affairs - 2020

World Customs Organization recognised HS Code for India’s Signature Fabrics-A Boost for Khadi Exports

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has allocated separate HS code for signature fabric of India. HS stands for Harmonized System and was developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). The code is used by customs officers to clear commodities entering or crossing international border.

HS Code

It is a multi purpose International Nomenclature that describes type of goods being shipped. The code follows Kyoto Convention of 1974. It is being used by more than 200 countries. The code aids countries in collection of international trade statistics and forms a basis for customs tariffs. This helps in better reach of the product and increases its global popularity.

World Customs Organization

The WCO is an inter governmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. It was founded in 1952. It administers the technical aspects of WTO, agreements on customs valuation and rules of origin. It works towards the development of international conventions, rules of origin, supply chain security, IPRs, customs reforms and modernization, etc.

India’s Signature Fabric

Khadi is the term used for fabrics that are hand spun and hand woven. It is recognized as signature fabric of India. It gained its importance since the freedom movement of boycott.

According to Indian Flag Code, Khadi is the only material allowed to be used for the flag. If flying flag is made with any other material the offense is punishable by law with imprisonment up to 3 years and fine.

 

CBIC organises meeting of WCO’s Asia Pacific Region

Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), under Ministry of Finance is organising a meeting of Regional Heads of Customs Administration of Asia Pacific Region of World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Kochi (in Kerela) from 8th to 10th May, 2019.

As India currently holds seat of Vice Chairperson of Asia Pacific region (assumed on 1 July 2018) for a two-year period, it is hosting this meeting in this capacity.

Key Highlights of Meeting

  • It will discuss about progress being made in carrying forward various initiatives and programmes of WCO, in promoting, securing and facilitating cross-border trade in Asia Pacific region. It will also look into capacity building and technical assistance required to achieve this goal.
  • Pranab Kumar Das, Chairman of CBIC will chair the meeting.
  • Participants: includes customs delegations from over 20 countries of Asia Pacific region and senior officials of WCO and its regional bodies namey Regional Intelligence Liaoning Office (RILO) and Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB).
  • Key Focus Areas: of meeting includes, implementation of trade facilitation measures, building capacity of small island economies (in Asia pacific region), cross-border e-commerce transactions, performance measurement, trusted trader programmes, and on-going review of Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC).

About WCO

  • It was established in 1952 as Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) and in 1994 it adopted its current name World Customs Organisation (WCO).
  • It is headquartered in Brussels (in Belgium).
  • It is an independent intergovernmental body, which seeks to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.
  • It is only intergovernmental organisation which exclusively focuses on Customs matters.
  • One of its crucial role is to streamline cross border procedures and enhance security of global trade.
  • The governing body of WCO is ‘WCO Council’, which brings together all Members of Organization one time every year.
  • Functions: to maintain international Harmonized System (HS, also known as Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System) of tariff nomenclature, and to administer technical aspects of World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin.
  • Members: It represents 182 Customs administrations globally (which collectively undergoes about 98% of world trade). Its membership is divided into 6 regions. Each of these six Regions is represented by regionally elected Vice-Chairperson to WCO’s Council. India holds Vice Chair of Asia Pacific region of WCO for a two-year period.