The WTO agreement on the implementation of Article VII of the 1994 GATT or the so-called evaluation agreements is part of the Uruguay Round agreements. The agreement sets the rules for determining the value of goods for the imposition of customs duties and taxes applicable at the time of the importation of goods. Under the valuation agreement, transaction value is the primary value method, that is, the value that is based on the price actually paid or payable for the goods. For importers, estimating the value of a product in customs poses problems that can be as serious as the actual tariff calculated. The WTO Customs Assessment Agreement aims to establish a fair, uniform and neutral system for assessing goods for customs purposes, one that is consistent with commercial reality and prohibits the use of arbitrary or fictitious customs values. The Customs Assessment Committee of the Goods Council (CGT) conducts customs assessment work within the WTO. Brief information on customs assessment relations in the “Rights Assessment” section of the WTO Guide to the WTO. An important part of the work of the Customs Assessment Committee in support of the provisions of the agreement is the review of the terms and conditions of the members` application. As of October 2008, 80 members had notified their national customs assessment legislation (this figure does not include the 27 EU members); Forty-six members, mostly least least developed countries (LDCs) or countries that have recently joined the EU, have not yet notified their national customs assessment legislation. The agreement provides for a customs assessment system that bases customs value primarily on the transaction value of imported goods, i.e.
on the price actually paid or payable for goods when they are sold for export to the importing country, with certain adjustments. The guarantee of an appropriate valuation method, i.e. an appropriate assessment method under the agreement and avoiding arbitrary or officially fixed minimum import prices, is essential to preserve the integrity of market access obligations negotiated on the basis of the value of imported goods. Implementation of the agreement is often essential for the first concrete and useful steps taken by some WTO governments to reform their customs administrations, reduce corruption and ultimately create a rules-based trade facilitation environment.