International Cooperation. The World Customs Organization. Grammar Review
Exercise 1. Before reading the text, answer these questions:
a) Do you know any intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness of Customs administrations?
b) Do you know any organization which can call itself the voice of the international Customs community?
Exercise 2. Read the text to learn more about this body.
The World Customs Organization (WCO) is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The WCO is noted for its work in areas covering the development of international conventions, instruments, and tools on topics such as commodity classification, valuation, rules of origin, collection of customs revenue, supply chain security, international trade facilitation, customs enforcement activities, combating counterfeiting in support of IPR, integrity promotion, and capacity building to assist with customs reforms and modernization. The WCO maintains the international Harmonized System (HS) goods nomenclature, and administers the technical aspects of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin.
The history of the WCO began in 1947 when the thirteen European Governments represented in the Committee for European Economic Co-operation agreed to set up a Study Group. This Group examined the possibility of establishing one or more inter-European Customs Unions based on the principles of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
In 1948, the Study Group set up two committees – an Economic Committee and a Customs Committee. The Economic Committee was the predecessor of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Customs Committee became the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC).
After years of membership growth, in 1994 the Council adopted the working name World Customs Organization, to more clearly reflect its transition to a truly global intergovernmental institution. It is now the voice of 179 Customs administrations which operate on all continents and represent all stages of economic development. Today, WCO Members are responsible for processing more than 98% of all international trade.
Exercise 3. Answer the following questions.
9. What main topics does the WCO bear responsibility for?
10. What important international agreements does the WCO administer?
11. When did the history of the WCO begin?
12. Why was the first Study Group set up?
13. What were the former names of the World Customs Organization?