Terms and Conditions

Version 23/03/2020

GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS – WCO PUBLICATIONS

These General Terms and Conditions govern all sales of Publications, on paper and/or in digital format whether directly at the Sales Counter or remotely via the Bookshop.
The consultation of the website and the validation of his/her order by the Buyer shall be equivalent to total and unreserved acceptance of these General Terms and Conditions, with which he/she declares him or herself to be fully acquainted.

Important notice to the Buyer

Cancellation rights

“The consumer has the right to notify the enterprise of its intention to cancel the purchase, without penalty and without giving any reason, within 14 calendar days from the day after the day of delivery of the good or of the signing of the service contract.”

As set out in Article 11(2) of these General Terms and Conditions, where a Publication is sold remotely via the Bookshop, the Buyer – provided he constitutes a “consumer” within the meaning of the Belgian Law of 6 April 2010 on market practices and consumer protection – has a period of fourteen (14) calendar days, starting from the day following the date of delivery of the Publication(s) ordered, to notify the WCO in writing, if need be, of his intention to cancel the purchase.

ARTICLE 1 – IDENTIFICATION AND DEFINITIONS

1.1 “WCO” An international organization having its headquarters at Rue du Marché, 30 – 1210 Brussels (Belgium).

1.2 "Buyer” Any natural or legal person who buys Publication(s), on paper and/or in digital format, whether directly at the Sales Counter or remotely via the Bookshop.

1.3 “Publication(s)” Any product of which the WCO is the owner and the source of its content (in-house knowledge or collected data) intended to be circulated or marketed on paper or in digital (or any other format) and through any distribution channel.

1.4 “Bookshop” WCO’s online platform (http://wcoomdpublications.org) for the sale of Publications, the use of which is conditional upon compliance with the General Terms and Conditions (viewable on the Bookshop).

1.5 “Sales Counter” Sales office in the WCO Headquarters building at rue du Marché 30, 1210 Brussels.

1.6 “Order Form” Formal representation (i) on paper at the Sales Counter or (ii) online on the Bookshop of the particular conditions of a given order: identity of the Buyer, Publications ordered, price, possible discounts, address for delivery, etc.

ARTICLE 2 – ACCESS TO THE BOOKSHOP

The WCO reserves the right to modify, temporarily or permanently interrupt and/or delete, at any time, all or part of the Bookshop, without informing the user in advance. Such action shall not result in any liability being incurred by the WCO.

ARTICLE 3 – OWNERSHIP OF THE BOOKSHOP

The Bookshop is the exclusive property of the WCO and its content is published under the responsibility of the WCO, an international organization with headquarters at Rue du Marché, 30, 1210 Brussels (Belgium).

ARTICLE 4 – USE OF THE BOOKSHOP AND ITS CONTENT

4.1 Unless previously authorized in writing by the WCO, the sale or use, for a commercial or non-commercial purpose, of the information contained in the Sales Site is prohibited. The WCO may, at any time, without notice or compensation, terminate the user’s right of use and deny him access to the Sales Site.

​​​​​​​4.2 The user undertakes to use the information contained in the Sales Site in accordance with these Terms and Conditions and any applicable law. He undertakes, in particular, not to commit any unlawful act on the Sales Site that infringes the rights and interests of third parties and/or that could damage, overload, disable, discredit or block the Sales Site. 

​​​​​​​4.3 Likewise, the user undertakes not to commit any act, make any statement or perform any action on the Sales Site that could tarnish the reputation and image of the WCO, its Members and/or its Oofficials and staff.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​4.4 In no circumstances may the WCO be held liable for the use made of the Sales Site by a user.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​4.5 The user therefore agrees to compensate the WCO for, protect it from and, if necessary, defend it against any third party action and/or costs (including, but not limited to, lawyers’’ costs and fees), subsequent upon the incorrect or illegal use of the Sales Site, infringement of the legal notices or participation in an infringement committed by a third party.

​​​​​​​4.6 These legal notices and the annex thereto constitute the totality of the agreements between the WCO and the user concerning the use of the Sales Site.

ARTICLE 5 – ORDERS

5.1 The WCO shall not be bound to accept any order for Publication(s):

  1. In the case of a remote sale, until the Buyer has signed and Order Frorm through the Bookshop and an acknowledgement of receipt confirming the agreement of the WCO to process the order has been dispatched; or
  2. In the case of a direct sale at the Sales Counter, until the Buyer has signed an Order Form and an acknowledgement of receipt confirming the WCO’s agreement to process the order has been issued.

5.2 The WCO reserves the right to make the confirmation of the order subject to other conditions, to suspend it or to refuse, namely in the following case:

  1. Where there is a dispute between the WCO and the Buyer;
  2. Order Form is incomplete or incorrect
  3. Communication of clearly erroneous data
  4. Failure to pay for previous deliveries or refusal of authorization by the Buyer’s bank or financial institution;
  5. Order for an abnormally large number of Publications;
  6. Order for an abnormally large total amount; or
  7. Delivery to be made in geographical area where the risks would be unreasonable, due either to an unreliable transport distribution system or to circumstances of force majeure (wars, riots, strikes)

ARTICLE 6 – OFFER AND PRICES

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​6.1 All Publications offered for sale on the Bookshop are described in good faith and as accurately as possible. Any photos/images of Publications on the Bookshop are published for purposes of illustration and have no contractual value.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​6.2 Offers and prices of Publications are valid for the day on which the Bookshop is consulted or the Sales Counter visited; they may be changed without notice.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​6.3 Prices of Publications are quoted in euros and all orders for Publication(s), whatever their origin, are payable in euros.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​6.4 Customs duties, other local taxes or state import duties and taxes may be payable. These duties and sums are not the responsibility of the WCO. They are borne by the Buyer and are entirely his responsibility in terms of both declarations and payments to the competent authorities and/or agencies of the country concerned. The WCO recommends that the Buyer obtain information on these aspects from his local competent authorities.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​6.5 The prices proposed at the end of the ordering process are global prices and include delivery charges.

ARTICLE 7 – AVAILABILITY

​​​​​​​7.1 The WCO’s product offers and prices are valid for as long as they can be viewed on the Bookshop or at the Sales Counter, subject to availability.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​7.2 If a Publication is not available, the Buyer will be informed as quickly as possible by email or post. If a Buyer is informed that a Publication is not available, he may cancel his order by applying to the Customer service. In any event, the WCO may not be held responsible for any damage resulting from the unavailability of a Publication.

ARTICLE 8 – INVOICING

​​​​​​​8.1 The purchase invoice is attached by the WCO to the order confirmation email sent by the WCO after validation of payment.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​8.2 When placing an order, it is possible to specify an address for invoicing different from the address for delivery.

ARTICLE 9 – TERMS OF PAYMENT

​​​​​​​9.1 Payment in advance by the Buyer is required before any Publication(s) is (are) handed over or delivered by the WCO. By way of exception, if the Buyer is a Member State of the WCO, payment may be made within thirty (30) calendar days following order.

​​​​​​​9.2 Orders placed with the WCO are payable by credit card, via a secure server, or by bank transfer. If a credit card is used, authorization will be requested from the Buyer’s financial institution at the time the order is placed.

​​​​​​​9.3 In the event of payment by bank transfer, the Buyer must specify his order number as the transfer reference to facilitate processing. Bank charges incurred as a result of payments being made in  any other currency or as a result of the method of payment used are payable by the Buyer.

​​​​​​​9.4 The WCO’s bank details are mentioned on the invoice issued by the WCO.

ARTICLE 10 – ORDER EXECUTION AND DELIVERY PERIODS

​​​​​​​10.1 Delivery periods to the Buyer following the execution of the order by the WCO are about ten (10) working days for Europe and fifteen (15) working days for the rest of the world. These delivery periods are given for guidance only and do not entail any obligation on the part of the WCO. The WCO may not be held responsible for any delays in delivery.

​​​​​​​10.2 Publications ordered by the Buyer will be delivered to the delivery address indicated on the Order Form.

ARTICLE 11 – CUSTOMS DUTIES AND VAT EXEMPTION

11.1 If applicable, any Customs duties are payable solely by the Buyer.

11.2 All orders will be invoiced exclusive of VAT, as pursuant to Article 13.1 of the EU Directive  2006/112/CE on the common system of the value added tax, the WCO shall be regarded as non- taxable person in respect to the activities or transactions in which it engages as public authority within its scope of activity defined in the Convention of 15 December 1950 establishing a Customs Co-operation Council, even where it collects dues, fees, contributions or payments in connection with those activities or transactions.

ARTICLE 12 – LOGISTICAL AND DELIVERY COSTS

​​​​​​​12.1 Any logistical and delivery costs that the Buyer may have to bear will be communicated online or – where appropriate – directly at the Sales Counter, at the time of placing the order. In general, they will be calculated on the basis of the total weight of the order, its destination and the mode of shipment.

​​​​​​​12.2 These costs are payable by the Buyer and are added, on the invoice, to the price of the Publication(s) ordered

ARTICLE 13 – GOODS RETURNED

​​​​​​​13.1 If the Publication delivered does not correspond to the Publication which the Buyer ordered or if it is damaged, the Buyer may return it to the WCO within twenty (20) calendar days of receipt. After that, the delivery shall be considered to have been irrevocably accepted.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​13.2 The WCO will exchange the Publication or refund the amount of the order, as well as any carriage costs incurred, within thirty (30) calendar days of receiving the Publication returned. However, the WCO reserves the right to refuse to give a refund on the Publication returned if it has been damaged by the Buyer. In general, an order will be deemed to have been delivered five (5) working days after the Publication was handed over to the carrier responsible for its delivery.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​13.3 However, if one or more Publications ordered fail to reach the Buyer within thirty (30) calendar days following confirmation of the order, at the delivery address provided, it will be the responsibility of the Buyer to contact the WCO, within a reasonable time, in order to check the status of his order.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​13.4 If it turns out that the shipment which should have been made has gone astray during the delivery process, the WCO will make a new shipment or refund the amount of the order, including any carriage costs incurred.

ARTICLE 14 – CANCELLATION RIGHTS

​​​​​​​14.1 Direct sale on the WCO’s premises. 
Where a Publication is sold directly at the WCO’s Sales Counter, the Buyer shall not have the right to cancel the purchase.

​​​​​​​14.2 Remote sale via the Bookshop
Where a Publication is sold remotely via the Bookshop, other than in the cases of non-compliance referred to in Article 10 of these General Terms and Conditions, the Buyer– has a period of fourteen (14) calendar days, starting from the day following the date of delivery of the Publication(s) ordered, to notify the WCO in writing, if need be, of his intention to cancel the purchase.
The Buyer must return the Publication(s) concerned within fifteen (15) calendar days of the dispatch of the above-mentioned email or registered letter of cancellation. Upon receiving the Publication(s) returned, the WCO shall refund to the Buyer the amount of the order concerned, provided that the Publication(s) concerned is (are) in perfect condition: undamaged, unmarked and, where appropriate, accompanied by all its accessories. In the event of damage or destruction of the Publication concerned, the WCO shall reserve the right to claim compensation.
The costs of returning the Publication(s) shall be borne by the Buyer.

ARTICLE 15 – EVIDENCE

​​​​​​​15.1 The data recorded by the WCO constitute evidence of all transactions between the WCO and the Buyer.

15.2 ​​​​​​​The data recorded by the WCO’s payments system constitute evidence of the transactions.

​​​​​​​15.3 Notwithstanding any other written evidence or any evidence preserved on another durable medium to which the Buyer has access, it is agreed that the computerized records stored in the computerized systems of the WCO or his ISP shall count as proof of the communications and the content of the orders passing between the parties.

ARTICLE 16 – INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

​​​​​​​16.1 The WCO owns all intellectual property and other rights in all Publications, without limitation, whether temporal or territorial even if offered free of charge. All texts, commentaries, titles, photographs, sounds, images, data, drawings, animated sequences, whether or not accompanied by sound, video, and illustrations reproduced on the Bookshop, including the WCO logo, as well as its design and fdorm, any databases and certain software used on the Bookshop are the property of the WCO and/or used under licence and are protected by the intellectual property right legislation in force.

​​​​​​​16.2 The reproduction, copying, sale or exploitation, for whatever purpose, as well as the modification, dissemination or use, of the items mentioned in Article 13.1, for commercial or non-commercial purposes, may constitute an infringement, unless previously authorized in writing by the WCO. The user therefore undertakes not to engage in such acts.

ARTICLE 17 – LIMITATION OF LIABILITY

​​​​​​​17.1 Links to the Bookshop and to other sites must receive the prior written authorization of the WCO.

17.2 The Bookshop may provide the user, as well as third parties, with links to other sites or other Internet sources. The WCO does not exercise any control over these sites and cannot be held liable nor take any responsibility for the contents, advertising, products, services or any other material or information available from these third-party sites. Moreover, the existence of the links in question does not imply that the WCO agree with the contents of the sites or imply any collaboration between the WCO and the site operators.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​17.3 The WCO cannot be held liable for any proven or alleged damage or lass resulting from or related with the use, or reliance on the contents, of third-party sites or the goods and services available on those third party sites.

​​​​​​​17.4 The user is liable for and assumes all the risks appertaining to the use he makes of the site to which he is taken by a hyperlink on the Bookshop, in particular, when he relies upon the timeliness, utility or completeness of its content.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​17.5 The liability of the WCO shall be strictly limited to the initial value of the order.

​​​​​​​17.6 The WCO cannot be held liable for failure to fill an order if a Publication is out of stock or unavailable, or in the event of force majeure, a total or partial disruption or strike affecting, in particular, postal services or means of transport and/or communication, flood or fire.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​17.7 The WCO will not incur any liability for consequential damage arising from these presents, operating losses, loss of profits, loss of opportunity, or damages or costs incurred by the Buyer.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​17.8 The WCO shall provide the Sales Site as is.

​​​​​​​17.9 The WCO gives no guarantee, implicit or explicit, concerning access to or the continuity, availability and/or operation of the Sales Site and related services.

​​​​​​​17.10 The WCO will do its best to ensure that the information it disseminates on the Sales Site is accurate. In no circumstances, can the WCO guarantee the accuracy and/or exhaustiveness of the said information. The WCO therefore gives nor guarantee, implicit or explicit, concerning the contents of the Sales Site.

​​​​​​​17.11 The WCO shall not be held responsible for any damage, direct or indirect, commercial or non-commercial, resulting from the use of the Sales Site.

​​​​​​​17.12 The WCO accepts no liability for any viruses that might be imported during the downloading of any of the components of the Sales Site or of any site to which the WCO refers the user through hypertext links or emails sent by the WCO.

ARTICLE 18 – TOLERANCE

Failure by the Buyer or the WCO to exercise any right under the terms of these General Terms and Conditions or tolerance of the non-performance or infringement of one of its articles may never be interpreted as a waiver of reliance upon the said right and/or article.​​​​​​​

ARTICLE 19 – APPLICABLE LAW AND DISPUTE SETTLEMENT

​​​​​​​19.1 The Parties expressly agree that their rights and obligations shall be governed by these Terms and Conditions and, in the second place, by Belgian laws.

​​​​​​​19.2 Given the WCO’s capacity as an international organization and in particular its jurisdictional privileges, any dispute between the WCO and the Buyer shall be settled in accordance with the procedure laid down in Part I of Customs Co-operation Council Decision CCCXXXI (available for consultation at http://www.wcoomd.org/en/about-us/legal-instruments/wco-standard-terms-and-conditions_council-decision-n331.aspx), which the Buyer declares having carefully acquainted itself with and accepted without any reservation.

​​​​​​​19.3 As an exception, should the Buyer be a Member State of the WCO, the Parties agree that any dispute shall be amicably settled by the Parties.

​​​​​​​19.4 Nothing in these Terms and Conditions, including any references to national legislation, may be construed as any waiver by the WCO of its privileges and immunities or of those of its Officials.

ARTICLE 20 – PRIVACY AND PERSONAL DATA

​​​​​​​20.1 ​​​​​​​When a user visits the Sales Site, the WCO collects and retains, in particular, the following data which might be regarded as personal:

  1. the email address of the user;
  2. all information concerning the pages that the user has consulted while visiting the Sales Site;
  3. all the personal information that the user communicates voluntarily on the Sales Site.
    This data shall be collected and retained purely with a view to providing an optimum service to the user.

​​​​​​​20.2 If the user wishes to exercise his right of access, objection and/or rectification, he may contact the WCO by email at: DPO@wcoomd.org.

​​​​​​​20.3 The information supplied to the WCO shall not be transferred to third parties.

ARTICLE 21 – AMENDMENTS

21.1 ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The WCO reserves the right to amend the legal notices at any time. The consultation or use of the Sales Site by the user implies his acceptance of any amendments to the legal notices. The WCO suggests that users refer to the Legal Notices at very regular intervals.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​21.2 Any amendment or additional content incorporated in the Sales Site shall be subject to these legal notices. 

ARTICLE 22 – VALIDITY AND PARTIAL INVALIDITY OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS

As far as possible, the clauses of these Terms and Conditions shall be construed in such a way as to make them valid and enforceable. However, if one or more clauses of these legal notices is declared to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable, in whole or in part, the rest of the clause and these legal notices shall continue to apply in full, as if the invalid, illegal or unenforceable clause had never formed part of them.

ARTICLE 23 – NOTIFICATIONS AND CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Any notification or complaint may be addressed to the WCO:

  1. By email: info@wcoomdpublications.org
    ​​​​​​​
  2. By post: World Customs Organization Publication Service
    Rue du Marché 30 1210 Brussels BELGIUM

Any user with questions or comments concerning these legal notices should contact the WCO at the following address: legal@wcoomd.org

 

Annex 1: Part I of Customs Co-operation Council Decision CCCXXXIII

“DECISION No. 331 117th/118th sessions - June 2011 SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES

HAVING REGARD to Article IX, Section 24, of the Annex to the Convention establishing a Customs Co-operation Council,

THE COUNCIL DECIDES:

(i) to rescind Council Decision No. XXXIII of November 1954; and

(ii) to adopt the following modes of settlement of disputes arising out of contracts or other disputes of a private character to which the Council is a party and of disputes involving any official of the Council who, by reason of his/her official position enjoys immunity, if immunity has not been waived in accordance with the provisions of Sections 19 and 21 of the Annex to the Convention establishing a Customs Co-operation Council.

Mode of settlement of disputes between the Customs Co-operation Council and third persons (other than its officials), arising out of contracts

All contracts or agreements, in any form, entered into by the Customs Co-operation Council (the “Council”) shall contain an arbitration clause by which the Council and the other Party (or Parties) to the contract undertake to refer to a tribunal of arbitrators, which shall reach its decision by application of law and without appeal, any disputes involving the Council regarding the interpretation or fulfilment of the contract they have entered into.

Unless otherwise specified, in any contract or agreement entered into by on the one hand, the Council, and on the other hand, one or more States and/or one or more international organizations, the said arbitration clause shall be worded as follows:

(1) Settlement of disputes by arbitration

Any claim or dispute regarding the interpretation or fulfilment of this contract shall be settled by a tribunal of three arbitrators (the “Arbitral Tribunal”), who shall render a majority decision, reached by application of law and without appeal.​​​​​​​

(2) Initiation of the arbitral proceedings

     (i) Notice of damage

In order for its claim to be admissible, each Party to the contract shall, within a period of six (6) months from the date when it became aware of the damage sustained, or an absolute time limit of two (2) years beginning on the day after the day when the incident which caused the damage occurred (the action shall be time-barred as soon as one of these time limits has expired), give notice of the claim, by registered letter (with acknowledgment of receipt), to any other Party to the contract against which it wishes to file a claim (the “Notice of damage”).

The Party initiating the Notice of damage shall be called “the Claimant”, and the Party which receives the Notice of damage shall be called “the Respondent”.

     (ii) Mandatory conciliation

Beginning on the date when the Notice of damage is sent, there shall be a period of mandatory conciliation between the Parties lasting thirty (30) calendar days (the ‘“conciliation period”’).

     (iii) Notice of arbitration

In the event that the Parties have not been able to reach an amicable agreement by the end of the conciliation period, it shall be up to the Claimant(s) to notify the Respondent(s) of his/her/their desire to initiate arbitral proceedings by sending a registered letter (with acknowledgment of receipt) (the “Notice of arbitration”) no later than ten (10) calendar days after the end of the conciliation period.

The Notice of arbitration shall, on pain of invalidity, include at least the following: (i) appointment of an arbitrator, (ii) reference to the arbitration clause invoked, (iii) reference to the agreement or relationship out of or in relation to which the dispute arises, (iv) the relief sought and, where appropriate, an estimate of the amount claimed.

Within twenty (20) calendar days following the sending of the Notice of arbitration, the Respondent(s) must select his/her/their own arbitrator and notify the Claimant(s) and the arbitrator already selected by the latter of his/her/their choice. At the same time, the Respondent(s) shall make any counter-claims.

If the Respondent(s) fail(s) to appoint an arbitrator within the time allowed, that arbitrator shall be appointed by the Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) within thirty (30) calendar days following a request by the Claimant.

Where there is more than one Claimant and/or more than one Respondent, the Claimants jointly shall appoint one arbitrator and the Respondents jointly shall appoint one arbitrator.

(3) Composition of the Arbitral Tribunal

     (i) Appointment

The two arbitrators appointed by the Claimant(s) and the Respondent(s) shall, by common agreement, select a third arbitrator who shall chair the Arbitral Tribunal de jure.

If the first two arbitrators fail to appoint the third arbitrator within fifteen (15) calendar days of notification of the appointment of the second arbitrator, the third arbitrator shall be nominated by the Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) within thirty (30) calendar days following a request by the first Party to take action or the arbitrators selected by the Parties. 

The three arbitrators thus appointed shall constitute the Arbitral Tribunal.

     (ii) Independence and impartiality of the arbitrators

Only persons who are independent of the Parties and of their legal counsel may serve as arbitrators.

Each arbitrator shall sign a declaration of independence in which he/she undertakes to abide by the rules of good conduct set out therein and sets out, in writing, any facts and circumstances that could lead any of the Parties to doubt his/her independence. The Parties shall have twenty (20) calendar days following receipt of each arbitrator’’s declaration of independence to make any comments.

Moreover, an arbitrator shall immediately disclose in writing to the Parties any facts or circumstances of a similar nature to those referred to in the preceding paragraph which may arise during the arbitration.

     (iii) Challenge and replacement of arbitrators

           a. Challenge

Any arbitrator may be challenged if circumstances exist that give rise to justifiable doubts as to his/her impartiality or independence.

A Party who intends to challenge an arbitrator shall send notice of his/her challenge within twenty (20) calendar days after the declaration of independence of the challenged arbitrator has been notified to the challenging Party or within twenty (20) calendar days after the circumstances referred to in paragraph (3) (ii) § 3 above became known to that Party.

The challenge shall be notified to the other Party, to the arbitrator who is challenged and to the other members of the Arbitral Tribunal. The notification shall be in writing and shall state the reasons for the challenge.

When an arbitrator has been challenged by one Party, the other Party may agree to the challenge; in that case the arbitrator shall be required to withdraw. The challenged arbitrator may also withdraw voluntarily. In neither case does this imply acceptance of the validity of the grounds for the challenge.

If the other Party does not agree to the challenge and the challenged arbitrator does not withdraw, the decision on the challenge shall be a matter for the Secretariat of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The Court shall decide on the admissibility and on the merits of the challenge after it has afforded an opportunity for the arbitrator concerned, the other Parties and the other members of the Arbitral Tribunal to comment in writing within a specified period of time. Such comments shall be communicated to the Parties and to the arbitrators, who may respond to them within the time period specified by the Secretariat of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

           b. Replacement

In the event of an arbitrator's death, challenge, accepted withdrawal, resignation, or if there is a cause preventing him from fulfilling his duties, or upon request of all Parties, the arbitrator shall be replaced.

Any new arbitrator shall be nominated by the Secretariat of the Permanent Court of Arbitration within thirty (30) calendar days following a request by the first Party to take action or the remaining arbitrators.

(4) Procedural rules

     (i) Terms of Reference

The Arbitral Tribunal shall draw up its Terms of Reference, signed for acceptance by the Parties and the arbitrators, and including at least the following:

  • (i) rules of procedure setting out the procedural rules expressly stipulated herein, and also setting out procedural formalities not expressly provided for under the terms of this Decision;
  • (ii) a summary of the facts and claims of each Party;
  • (iii) the arbitrators’’ signed declarations of independence.

If the Arbitral Tribunal finds it necessary, during the proceedings, to take decisions regarding their organization (by means of “Procedural orders”), the Arbitral Tribunal shall take the decision it deems most appropriate with a view to the sound management of the proceedings, whilst ensuring that the Parties are treated equally and that each Party is given the opportunity of presenting his/her case. However, under no circumstances, except with the agreement of the Parties, shall there be any derogations from the rules expressly stipulated under the terms of this Decision.

(ii) Place of arbitration

The Arbitral Tribunal shall meet at the headquarters of the Customs Co-operation Council in Brussels (Belgium).

(iii) Law applicable

The Arbitral Tribunal shall decide the dispute or claim by application of the standards laid down by the WCO and, failing that, by Belgian law or, if appropriate, the law designated by application of the rules of private international law as applied in Belgium.

The Parties agree that under no circumstances shall the Arbitral Tribunal take its decision on the basis of equitable principles, assume the powers of an amiable compositeur or decide ex aequo et bono.

(iv) Language of the arbitration

The arbitration proceedings shall take place in one of the official languages of the WCO (English, French), as determined by the Parties.

(v) Witness statements and experts

If either Party so requests, at any appropriate stage of the proceedings the Arbitral Tribunal shall hold hearings for the presentation of evidence by witnesses, including expert witnesses, or for oral argument.

(vi) Interim measures of protection

The Arbitral Tribunal may, at the request of either Party, take any interim measures it deems necessary to preserve the respective rights of either Party or in respect of the matter in dispute.

Such interim measures may be established in the form of an interim award. The Arbitral Tribunal shall be entitled to require security for the costs of such measures.

A request for interim measures addressed by either Party to a judicial authority shall not be deemed incompatible with the agreement to arbitrate, or as a waiver of that agreement.

(vii) Settlement during proceedings

If, before the award is made, the Parties agree on a settlement of the dispute, the Arbitral Tribunal shall either issue an order for the termination of the arbitral proceedings or, if requested by both Parties and accepted by the Tribunal, record the settlement in the form of an arbitral award on agreed terms.

(Costs and expenses of arbitration

           a. Advance(s)

An advance payment shall be made in respect of the costs of arbitration; it shall be estimated by the Arbitral Tribunal on the basis of the amount of the principal claims and of any counterclaims, according to the Scale of Arbitration Costs of the Belgian Centre for Arbitration and Mediation (CEPANI) in effect on the date of Notice of arbitration.

           b. Attribution

The Arbitral Tribunal shall decide upon the final amount of the costs of arbitration in the framework of the final award, in the light of the services rendered and the costs incurred.

Unless the Parties agree otherwise, in principle the costs of arbitration shall be divided equally between the Parties. However, the Arbitral Tribunal may decide on a different apportionment of the costs if it determines that this is reasonable taking into account the circumstances of the case, provided however that it states the reasons for this decision.

Unless the Parties agree otherwise, each Party shall bear the costs it has incurred for legal representation and assistance. However, the Arbitral Tribunal, taking into account the circumstances of the case, shall be free to determine which Party shall bear such costs or may apportion them between the Parties if it determines that this is reasonable, provided however that it states the reasons for this decision.

Confidentiality

The Parties and the arbitrators undertake to ensure the confidentiality of the arbitral proceedings.

(5) Arbitral Award

     (i) Final award, stating the reasons on which it is based

No later than three (3) months after the closing of the proceedings, the Arbitral Tribunal, by majority decision, shall render its final award, stating the factual and legal grounds on which it is based, and communicate it to the Parties.

The Parties agree to accept the arbitral award rendered in accordance with the foregoing provisions as constituting final settlement of the claim or dispute.

The award may be made public, in whole or in part, only with the consent of both Parties unless the Arbitral Tribunal decides otherwise, stating the reasons for its decision, following a specific request made by a Party in the framework of the arbitral proceedings.

     (ii) Interpretation of the award 

Within twenty (20) calendar days after receipt of the final award or of the corrections made thereto in application of paragraph 5 (iii) below, either Party, with notice to the other Party, may request that the Arbitral Tribunal give an interpretation of the award.

The interpretation shall be given in writing within twenty (20) calendar days after receipt of the request. The interpretation shall form part of the award.

     (iii) Correction of the award

Within twenty (20) calendar days after receipt of the final award or of the interpretation given thereof in application of paragraph 5 (ii) above, either Party, with notice to the other Party, may request the Arbitral Tribunal to correct in the award any errors in computation, any clerical or typographical errors, or any errors of a similar nature. The Arbitral Tribunal may, within twenty (20) calendar days after the communication of the award to the Parties, make such corrections on its own initiative.

(6) Privileges and immunities​​​​​​​

The Council declares that no provision contained in the present arbitration clause will be considered by it as a waiver, either