Agreement

SAARC AGREEMENT ON MUTUAL ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANCE IN CUSTOMS MATTERS

The Governments of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation)  Member  States  comprising  the  People’s  Republic  of  Bangladesh,  the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Republic of India, the Republic of Maldives, the Kingdom of Nepal, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan  and the Democratic  Socialist  Republic  of Sri Lanka hereinafter referred to as “Contracting States”,

MOTIVATED by the commitment to promote regional cooperation for the benefit of their peoples, in a spirit of mutual accommodation, with full respect for the principles of sovereign equality, independence and territorial integrity of all States;

RECALLING the common desire to promote the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA)  which is to come into effect on 1st  January 2006 and convinced  that closer cooperation amongst their Customs Administrations will facilitate intra-regional trade;

RECOGNIZING  the  need  for  regional  co-operation  in  matters  related  to  the application and enforcement of their Customs laws;

CONSIDERING the importance of accurate assessment of Customs duties and other taxes  and of ensuring  proper  enforcement  by  Customs  Administrations  of prohibitions, restrictions and measures of control in respect of specific goods;

CONSIDERING that offences against Customs law are prejudicial to the security of the Contracting  States and their economic,  commercial,  fiscal, social, public health and cultural interests;

CONVINCED that action against Customs offences can be made more effective by close co-operation between their Customs Administrations based on clear legal provisions;

HAVING  REGARD  to  the  relevant  instruments  of  the  Customs  Cooperation

Council (World Customs Organisation);

HAVING REGARD also to international Agreements containing prohibitions, restrictions and special measures of control in respect of specific goods;

Have agreed as follows:

Definitions

Article 1

For the purposes of this Agreement

1          "Customs  Administration"  shall  mean  the  Customs  authority  and  any  other authority of a Contracting State authorized under national law and designated by that Contracting State to apply any provision of this Agreement.

2.         "Customs law" shall mean any legal and administrative provisions applicable or enforceable by the Customs Administration of a Contracting State in connection with the importation, exportation, transshipment, transit, storage and movement of goods, including legal and administrative provisions relating to measures of prohibition, restriction and control;

3.         "Customs offence" shall mean any breach or attempted breach of Customs law;

4.         "person" shall mean both natural and legal persons, unless the context otherwise;

5.         "personal  data"  shall  mean  any  data  concerning  an  identified  or  identifiable natural person;

6.         “information"  shall mean any data, whether  or not processed  or analysed,  and documents,   reports,   and   other   communications   in   any   format,   including electronic, or certified or authenticated copies thereof;

7.         "intelligence" shall mean information which has been processed and / or analyzed to provide an indication relevant to a Customs offence;

8.         ''requesting   Administration"   shall  mean  the  Customs   Administration   which requests assistance;

9.         “requested Administration"  shall mean the Customs Administration  from which assistance is requested;

10.        “official”  shall  mean  any  Customs  officer  or  other  government  functionary designated by a Customs Administration;