Agreement between the government of the Republic of Latvia and the government of the Kingdom of Norway regarding mutual assistance in customs matters
The Government of the Republic of Latvia and the Government of the Kingdom of Norway, hereafter referred to as the Contracting Parties,
Considering that offences against customs legislation are prejudicial to the economic, fiscal, social and commercial interests of their respective countries,
Considering the importance of assuring accurate assessment of customs duties, taxes and other charges collected on the importation or exportation of goods, as well as proper implementation of provisions relating to prohibition, restriction and control,
Convinced that actions against customs offences can be made more effective by cooperation between their customs authorities,
Bearing in mind the existing friendly relations between Latvia and Norway,
Wishing to enhance and supplement the present mutual assistance between the Contracting Parties,
Having regard to the international instruments promoting bilateral mutual assistance, and in particular to the Recommendation of the Customs Co-operation Council on Mutual Administrative Assistance of 5 December, 1953,
Have agreed as follows:
For the purposes of the present Agreement,
1. Customs legislation shall mean provisions laid down by law or regulation concerning the importation, exportation and transit of goods, whether relating to customs duties, taxes or any other liabilities and charges, or to measures in respect of prohibition, restriction or control.
2. Customs Authority shall mean in the Republic of Latvia, Customs Department of the State Revenue Service (Valsts ienemumu dienesta Muitas departaments) and, in the Kingdom of Norway, the Directorate of Customs and Excise (Toll- og avgiftsdirektoratet).
3. Offence shall mean any violation of the Customs laws as well as any attempted violation of such laws.
4. Customs duties shall mean all duties, taxes, fees or other charges which are levied and collected in application of customs legislation.
5. Applicant authority shall mean the competent Customs Authority of a Contracting Party which makes a request for assistance in customs matters.
6. Requested authority shall mean the competent customs Authority of a Contracting Party which receives a request for assistance in customs matters.
7. Controlled delivery shall mean illicit or suspect consignments of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or substances substituted for them, allowed to pass out of, through or into the territories of the Contracting Parties, with the knowledge and under the supervision of their competent authorities, with a view to identifying persons involved in the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
SCOPE OF AGREEMENT
1. The Contracting Parties agree to assist each other through their Customs Authorities in the prevention, investigation and repression of any Offence, in accordance with the provisions of the present Agreement. Such assistance shall not affect any rules governing mutual assistance in criminal matters.
2. Assistance, as provided under this Agreement, shall also be extended upon request for the purpose of assessing Customs duties, taxes and other liabilities and charges by the Customs Authorities.
3. The assistance refereed to in paragraph 1 and 2 shall be provided for use in all proceedings, whiter judicial, administrative or investigative, and shall include proceedings in respect of classification, value and other characteristics relevant to the enforcement of the customs laws.
4. Assistance within the framework of this Agreement shall be rendered in accordance with the laws of the requested Contracting Party and within the competence and resources of that Contracting Party’s Customs Authority.
5. Assistance within the framework of this Agreement shall include exchange of information concerning drug detector dogs and technical equipment, experience of new means and methods used in enforcement, special literature produced by the Customs Authorities and information on the training of customs officers.
EXEMPTIONS FROM ASSISTANCE
1. In cases where the requested authority is of the opinion that compliance with a request would infringe sovereignty, security, public policy or other substantive national interest, assistance may be refused or compliance may be made subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions or requirements.
2. In cases where a request is made which the applicant authority itself would be unable to provide if requested by the Customs Authority of the other Contracting Party, the applicant authority shall draw attention to this fact in its request. Compliance with such a request shall be within the discretion of the requested Contracting Party.
3. If a request for assistance cannot be complied with, the applicant authority shall be notified without delay and shall be informed of the reasons for the refusal to provide assistance.
COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION
1. The Customs Authorities shall, on their own initiative or upon request, furnish each other with all available information regarding activities which may result in offences within the territory of the other Contracting Party.
2. Upon request, the Customs Authorities shall inform each other whether goods exported from the territory of one Contracting Party have been lawfully imported or brought into the territory of the other Contracting Party. The information shall, upon request, contain particulars of the customs clearance procedures used for the goods and particulars concerning such goods.
3. If the Customs Authority so requested does not have the information asked for, it will seek that information in accordance with the provisions of its customs laws.
4. Upon request, the requested Contracting Party shall notify the persons concerned residing in its territory or have them notified by the competent authorities of any action or decision made by the requesting Contracting Party concerning any matter falling within the scope of this Agreement.
5. The Customs Authorities of the Contracting Parties shall, upon request, provide documentation relating to transportation and shipment of goods showing value, disposition and destination of those goods.
FILES AND DOCUMENTS
1. The Customs Authority of one Contracting Party shall, upon request, supply to the Customs Authority of the other Contracting Party reports, records of evidence or certified copies of documents giving all available information on transactions, detected or planned, which constitute or appear to constitute an offence under the Customs legislation of that Contracting Party.
2. Upon specific request, copies of such files, documents and other materials shall be appropriately authenticated.
3. The documents provided for in this Agreement may include computerized information produced in any form for the same purpose. All relevant information for the interpretation or utilization of the material should be supplied at the same time.
SURVEILLANCE OF PERSONS, GOODS AND MEANS
Upon request, the Customs Authorities shall, to the extent of their abilities, exercise special surveillance of:
a) particular persons known or suspected by the requesting Customs Authority of being engaged in an Offence,
b) means of transport, known or suspected of being used in connection with offences within the territory of the requesting Contracting Authority,
c) goods designated by the requesting Contracting Authority as the object of an extensive clandestine traffic into or from its territory.
If Customs Authority of one Contracting Party so requests, the Customs Authority of the other Contracting Party shall initiate all official inquires concerning operations which are or appear to be contrary to the customs legislation. It shall communicate the results of such inquiries to the requesting Customs Authority.
1. If the Customs Authority of the requested Contracting Party considers that a representative of the requesting Customs Authority should be present when an action is carried out, the requesting Customs Authority shall be notified.
2. If a representative of the requesting Customs Authority shall be present when the action is carried out, the requesting Customs Authority shall be advised of the time and the place of the action to be taken in response to the request.
3. When representatives of one Contracting Party are present in the territory of the other Contracting Party pursuant to the provisions of this Agreement, such representatives must at all times be able to furnish proof of their official capacity. They must not be in uniform or carry arms.
1. If permitted by the basic principles of their respective domestic legal systems, the Contracting Parties shall take the necessary measures, within their possibilities, to allow for the appropriate use of controlled delivery at the international level, on the basis of agreements and arrangements mutually consented to, with a view to identifying persons involved in the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and to taking legal action against them.
2. Decisions to use controlled delivery shall be made on a case-by-case basis. Such decisions may, if necessary, and in conformity with the national legislation of the Contracting Party, take into account financial arrangements and understandings reached.
3. Illicit consignments whose controlled delivery is agreed to may, by mutual consent of the competent authorities, be intercepted and allowed to continue with the narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances intact or removed or replaced in whole or in part.
OBLIGATION TO OBSERVE CONFIDENTIALITY
1. Information, documents and other communications received in the course of mutual assistance may only be used for the purposes specified in the present Agreement, including use in judicial or administrative proceedings. Such information, documents and other communication may be used for other purposes only when the supplying Contracting Party has given its express consent.
2.Inquires , information, documents and other communication received by either Contracting Party shall be treated as confidential.
3.Any intelligence, documents or other information communicated or obtained under this Agreement shall be afforded in the receiving country the same protection in respect of confidentiality and official secrecy as applies in that country to the same kind of intelligence, documents and other information obtained in its own territory.
4. The use made of such information and documents as evidence in the courts and the weight to be attached thereto shall be determined in accordance with national legislation.
EXPERTS AND WITNESSES
At the request of the Customs Authority of one Contracting Party, The Customs Authority of the other Contracting Party may authorize officials, within the limitations of the authorization granted, to appear as witnesses or experts in judicial, or administrative proceedings in respect of the matters covered by this Agreement in the jurisdiction of the other Contracting Party, and produce such objects, documents or authenticated copies thereof, as may be needed for the proceedings. A request for an appearance must indicate specifically on what matter and by virtue of what title or qualification the official will be questioned.
ASSISTANCE IN RECOVERY
1. Upon application, the requested Customs Authority shall take necessary steps to recover Customs duty claims.
2. The provisions of paragraph 1 shall apply only to Customs duty claims which exceed a minimum amount, to be established in accordance with Article 16, and form the subject of an instrument permitting their enforcement in the applicant Contracting Party.
3. A request for recovery of a claim must be accompanied by an official or certified copy of the instrument permitting its enforcement and a translation in accordance with the provisions of Article 14.3.
4. The instrument permitting enforcement and in accordance with legislation of the requested Contracting Party, be accepted, recognized, supplemented or replaced by an instrument authorizing enforcement in that Contracting Party.
5. Questions concerning any period beyond which a claim cannot be enforced shall be governed by the legislation of the requested Contracting Party.
6. Claims to be recovered shall not be given preferential treatment in the requested Contracting Party.
7. A bankruptcy petition against the debtor, on the basis of a Customs duty claim, can be filed only if the applicant and the requested Customs Authority so agree. Costs resulting from bankruptcy proceedings shall be paid by the applicant Customs Authority.
8. The requested Customs Authority may allow deferral of payment or payment by installments, but shall first inform the applicant Customs Authority.
9. Proceedings relating to the existence or the amount of the Customs duty claim or the instrument permitting its enforcement may be brought only before the appropriate body of the applicant Contracting Party.
10. Claims shall be recovered in the currency of the requested Contracting Party in accordance with the official exchange rate on the day the request was receive.
11. Amounts which have been recovered shall be transmitted without undue delay, at the official exchange rate on the day of transmission, to the applicant Customs Authority, after deduction of fees and costs which are levied in accordance with the legislation of the requested Contracting Party.
The Contracting Party shall waive all claims for reimbursement of costs incurred in the execution of the present Agreement, with the exemption of expenses for witnesses, experts, and costs for interpreters other than government employees, and for such assistance as described in Article 12.
FORM AND SUBSTANCE OF REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE
1. Requests pursuant to the present Agreement shall be made in writing. Documents necessary for the execution of such requests shall accompany the request. When required because of the exigency of the situation, oral requests may also be accepted, but must be confirmed in writing.
2. Requests pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Article shall include the following information:
(a) the authority making the request;
(b) the nature of the proceedings;
(c) the object of and the reason for the request;
(d) the names and addresses of the parties concerned in the proceedings, if known;
(e) a brief description of the matter under consideration and the legal elements involved.
3. All communication between the Contracting Parties shall take place in the English language or in another language acceptable to both Contracting Parties. Information, documents and other communication between the Contracting Parties shall, in addition to being transmitted in the original language, be translated into English or a language acceptable to the receiving Contracting Party.
1. Assistance provided for under this Agreement shall be exchanged directly between the Customs Authority of the Contracting Parties. The central customs services shall transmit to each other lists of the competent persons appointed to act as correspondents for operational cooperation.
2. The designation of such central co-operation services shall not preclude direct liaison between customs services situated at the border of the Contracting Parties. Any cooperation between these decentralized units shall nevertheless be undertaken according to guidelines concluded by their central Customs Authorities.
3. If the Customs Authority of the requested Contracting Party is not the appropriate agency to comply with the request, it shall transmitted the request to the appropriate agency. Any assistance so provided shall be transmitted through the requested Customs Authority.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AGREEMENT
The Customs Department of the State Revenue Service ( Valsts ieščmumu dienesta Muitas departaments) and The Directorate of Customs and Excise ( Toll- og avgiftsdirectorate) may communicate directly for the purpose of dealing with issues arising out of the present Agreement, which are not be questions of foreign policy or international law. Those authorities shall mutually agree on detailed arrangements for the implementation of the Agreement.
This Agreement shall be applicable to the customs territory of the Republic of Latvia and to the customs territory of the Kingdom of Norway.
ENTRY INTO FORCE AND TERMINATION
1. The Contracting Parties shall notify one another by an exchange of diplomatic notes that they have accepted the terms of the Agreement, and that all necessary national legal requirements for entry into force have been fulfilled. The Agreement shall enter into force sixty days after the date of the last notification to that effect.
2. The Contracting Parties agree to meet in order to review this Agreement at the end of five years counted from date of its entry into force, unless they notify one another in writing that no review is necessary.
3. This Agreement may be terminated by each Contracting Party by written notification through diplomatic channels and shall cease to be in force six months after such notice has been given.
Done at Riga, on the 22nd day of April, 1996, in duplicate, in the Latvian, Norwegian and English languages, all texts being equally authentic. In case of any divergence of interpretation, the English text shall prevail.
For the government of For the government of
the Republic of Latvia the Kingdom of Norway