On 29 January, CRDF Global published an article saying that, in December, the WCO released a paper entitled “Practical Guidance on Free Zones”, intended to help member states address risks posed by illicit activities – including smuggling, money laundering, and counterfeiting – occurring in their free zones. This issue has become a focus at the WCO. It argues that a glaring problem in the area of free zone governance is the fact that, for all the guidance that exists on the issue, essentially none of it is legally binding, and the WCO convention that deals with Customs oversight in free zones, is optional for member states. While still not legally binding, the new WCO Practical Guidance is an important step toward improving governance of free zones. With 183 members, the WCO carries significant weight in the area of global trade and especially in customs matters. This guidance, coupled with recommendations from OECD and the precedent set by the Tobacco Protocol, can be seen as a precursor to mandatory inclusion of customs in the establishment and operation of free zones all over the world.
The link to the guidance in the article appears broke, but it can be found at –
The OECD Recommendation is at –
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