Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters


Published: 2004-02-04

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AGREEMENT
BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA AND
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN
ON MUTUAL ASSISTANCE IN CUSTOMS MATTERS
 
 
The Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, hereinafter referred to as the Contracting Parties,
 
Considering that offences against customs legislation are prejudicial to the economic, commercial, fiscal, social and cultural interests of their respective countries;
 
Considering the importance of assuring the accurate assessment and collection of customs duties, taxes and any other charges on the importation or exportation of goods, as well as the proper implementation of provisions of prohibitions, restrictions and control;
 
Aware of the necessity of international co-operation regarding the application and implementation of customs legislations of the States of the Contracting Parties;
 
Deeply concerned at the scales and tendencies of the increase in illicit traffic of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and taking account of the fact that it is a danger to health of people and to society;
 
Convinced that efforts to prevent offences against customs legislation and illicit traffic of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances can be rendered more effectively through cooperation between their Customs Administrations;
 
Having regard to the relevant international documents concerning bilateral mutual assistance and, in particular, the Recommendation of the Customs Co-operation Council on Mutual Administrative Assistance of 5 December, 1953;
 
have agreed, as follows:
 
 
Definitions
Article 1
 
For the purposes of the present Agreement:
 
1. "Customs Administration" shall mean in the Republic of Lithuania, the Customs Department under the Ministry of Finance, and in the Republic of Azerbaijan the State Customs Committee;
 
2. "Customs legislation" shall mean the provisions in force, applicable on the territories of the States of the Contracting Parties, and laid down by laws and regulations concerning the importation, exportation, transit of goods whether relating to customs duties, taxes and other charges, or to measures of prohibitions, restrictions and control;
 
3. "Requesting Party" shall mean the Customs Administration making a request for assistance in customs matters;
 
4. "Requested Party" shall mean the Customs Administration receiving the request for assistance in customs matters;
 
5. "Offence" shall mean any violation or attempted violation of customs legislation;
 
6. “Narcotic drug" shall mean any substance of natural or synthetic material, enumerated on the Lists I and II of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (with the relevant amendments);
 
7. "Psychotropic substance" shall mean any substance of natural or synthetic material, enumerated on the Lists I, II, III and IV of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances (with the relevant amendments);
 
8. "Precursors" shall mean chemical substances used under control in the production of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, enumerated on the Lists I and II of the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances;
 
9. "Controlled delivery" shall mean the technique of allowing illicit or suspect consignments of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or substances substituted for them, to pass out of, through or into the territories of the States 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
Article 2
 
1.   The Contracting Parties shall, in accordance with the provisions set out in this Agreement, render each other mutual assistance:
a)         in order to ensure that customs legislation is properly followed;
b)         in order to prevent, investigate and combat offences against customs legislation;
c)         in the exchange of documentation regarding application of customs legislation;
d)         in order to prevent and investigate the illicit traffic of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors.
 
2.         Assistance within the framework of this Agreement shall be rendered in accordance with the legislation applied in the territory of the State of the Requested Party and within its competence and resources. If necessary, a Customs Administration may take necessary arrangements for assistance to be provided by another competent authority, in accordance with the legislation in force in the territory of the State of the Requested Party. This Agreement shall not have any impact on other agreements of the Contracting Parties.
 
Communication of information
Article 3
 
1.         The Customs Administrations shall, on their own initiative or upon request, supply to each other all information which may help to ensure accuracy in:
a)         the collection of customs duties, other taxes, fees and charges levied by Customs Administrations in accordance with the customs legislation and, in particular, information which may help to assess the value of goods for Customs purposes and to establish their tariff classification;
b)         the implementation of import, export and transit prohibitions and restrictions;
c)         the application of national rules of origin of goods not covered by other arrangements concluded by one or both Contracting Parties.
 
2.         If the Requested Party does not have the information asked for, it shall seek that information in accordance with the legislation in force in the territory of its State. The Requested Party shall seek that information as if it was acting on its own account.
 
Article 4
 
The Customs Administrations shall, on their own initiative or upon request, supply to each other any information confirming that:
1.         goods imported into the territory of the State of one Contracting Party have been lawfully exported from the territory of the State of the other Contracting Party;
2.         goods exported from the territory of the State of one Contracting Party have been lawfully imported into the territory of the State of the other Contracting Party.
 
 
Article 5
 
The Customs Administration of one Contracting Party shall, on its own initiative or upon request, supply to the Customs Administrations of the other Contracting Party all information regarding:
1.         persons known or suspected of committing offences against the customs legislation in force in the territory of the State of the other Contracting Party;
2.         goods known to be the subject of an infringement of the customs legislation;
3.         any means of transport known to be or suspected of being used in committing offences against the customs legislation in force in the territory of the State of the other Contracting Party;
4.         new means and methods used in committing customs offences.
 
 
Article 6
 
The Customs Administration of one Contracting Party shall, upon request, supply to the Customs Administration of the other Contracting Party reports, records of evidence or certified copies of documents giving all available information on activities, detected or planned, which constitute or appear to constitute an offence against the customs legislation in force in the territory of the State of that Contracting Party.
 
 
Article 7
 
The documents provided for in this Agreement may be replaced by computerised 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 of transport
Article 8
 
The Customs Administration of one Contracting Party shall, within its competence and resources, on its own initiative or upon request of the Customs Administration of the other Contracting Party, maintain surveillance over:
1.         entry into and exit from the territory of the State of one Contracting Party of persons known to be or suspected of committing offences against the customs legislation in force in the territory of the State of the other Contracting Party;
2.         movements of goods known to be or suspected of causing substantial illicit traffic in or out of the territory of the State of the other Contracting Party;
3.         any means of transport known to be or suspected of being used for committing offences against the customs legislation in force in the territory of the State of the other Contracting Party.
 
 
 
Controlled delivery
Article 9
 
1.         The Customs Administrations shall cooperate with each other in implementation of the methods of controlled delivery.
 
2.         The decision on the implementation of the method of controlled delivery shall be made on a case-by-case method and in compliance with the legislation in force in the territories of the States of the Contracting Parties.
 
Inquiries
Article 10
 
1.         If the Customs Administration of one Contracting Party so requests, the Customs Administration of the other Contracting Party shall initiate all official inquiries concerning operations which are or appear to be contrary to the customs legislation of the Requesting Party.
 
2.         These inquiries shall be conducted under the legislation in force in the territory of the State of the Requested Party.
 
3.         The Requested Party may allow officials of the Requesting Party to be present at such inquires. These officials should have written authorization issued by their Customs Administrations.
 
4.         An official of the Customs Administration of one Contracting Party present in the territory of the State of the other Contracting Party pursuant to the Paragraph 3 of this Article shall act in an advisory capacity only and shall, under no circumstances, actively participate in the investigation, neither shall carry any legal proceedings. He must not wear uniform nor carry arms.
 
 
Experts and witnesses
Article 11
 
1.         If the judicial or the competent authorities of one Contracting Party so request in connection with offences against customs legislation brought before them, the Customs Administration of the other Contracting Party may authorise its officials to appear as witnesses or experts before those judicial or competent authorities.
 
2.         Such officials shall give evidence regarding facts established by them in the course of their duties.
 
3.         The request for the appearance must clearly indicate, in what case and in what capacity the official is to appear.
 
4.         The request for appearance of Customs officials as experts and witnesses shall be made in accordance with the legislation of the States of the Contracting Parties.
 
 
Use of information and documents
Article 12
 
1.         Information, documents and other communications received under this Agreement shall be used solely for the purposes of this Agreement. They shall not be communicated or used for any other purposes unless the Customs Administration furnishing them expressly approves in writing.
 
2.         Information and documents concerning the illicit traffic of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors, received by any of the Contracting Parties, may be submitted to the judicial or other competent authorities directly involved in combating against illicit traffic of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors.
 
3.         Requests, information, reports of experts and other communications received by the Customs Administration of one of the Contracting Parties in whatever form pursuant to this Agreement shall be afforded the same protection by the receiving Customs Administration as is afforded to documents and information of the same kind under the national legislation of the State of the Contracting Party.
 
4.         The Customs Administrations may, in accordance with the purposes and within the scope of this Agreement and in compliance with the national legislation of the States of the Contracting Parties and the international treaties and conventions which both States are Contracting Parties to, in their records of evidence, documents and testimonies, and in proceedings brought before courts or administrative authorities, use as evidence information and documents received in accordance with this Agreement.
 
5.         The use made of such information and documents as evidence in courts and the weight to be attached thereto shall be determined in accordance with national legislation of the States of the Contracting Parties.
 
Delivery of documents
Article 13
 
Upon application, the Requested Party shall, in accordance with the legislation in force in the territory of its State, deliver to the natural or legal persons concerned, residing or established in the territory of its State, all documents and decisions falling within the framework of this Agreement, which emanate from the Requesting Party.
 
Form and substance of requests for assistance
Article 14
 
1.         Requests pursuant to the present Agreement shall be made in writing. Documents necessary for the execution of such requests shall accompany the request. Where required because of the urgency of situation, oral requests may be accepted, but must be confirmed in writing immediately.
 
2.         Requests pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Article shall include the following information:
a)      the name of the Customs Administration making the request;
b)      the measures requested;
c)      the object of and the reason for the request;
d)      the laws, rules, regulations and other legal acts involved;
e)   indications as exact and comprehensive as possible on the natural and legal persons and goods being the target of the investigations;
f)   a summary of the relevant facts with the exception of the cases laid down in Article 13.
 
3.         Requests shall be submitted in the official language of the State of the Requested Party or in another language acceptable to the Requested Party.
 
4.         If a request does not reflect the information mentioned in paragraph 2 of this Article, its correction or completion may be demanded.
 
 
Exceptions from the liability to render assistance
Article 15
 
1.         If the Requested Party considers that compliance with the request would be prejudicial to the sovereignty, public order, security or other essential interests of the State of the requested Contracting Party, or if considers that it would involve violation of a State or any other secret protected by law, it may refuse to provide the assistance requested under this Agreement, fully or partially, or provide it subject to certain conditions or requirements.
 
2.         If a request for assistance cannot be complied with, the decision and reasons for the refusal shall be notified in writing to the Requesting Party without delay.
 
3.         If a Customs Administration asks for assistance which it would itself be unable to give if asked to do so by the Customs Administration of the other Contracting Party, it shall draw attention to that fact in its request. Compliance with such a request shall be within the discretion of the Requested Party.
 
 
Costs
Article 16
 
1.         Each Customs Administration shall waive all claims for payment of costs incurred in the execution of this Agreement except for the expenses of experts, witnesses, interpreters and translators.
 
2.         If expenses of a substantial and extraordinary nature are or will be required to execute the request, the Contracting Parties shall consult to determine the terms and conditions under which the request will be executed as well as the manner in which the costs shall be borne.
 
Implementation of the Agreement and territorial application
Article 17
 
1.         The implementation of this Agreement shall be entrusted to and carried out directly between the Customs Administrations of the Contracting Parties. The Customs Administrations will decide on further detailed arrangements, within the framework of this Agreement, to facilitate the implementation of this Agreement.
 
2.         The Customs Administrations of the Contracting Parties may arrange for their Investigation Services to be in direct communication with each other.
 
3.         The Customs Administrations of the Contracting Parties shall endeavour to resolve by mutual accord any disputable issue arising from the interpretation or application of this Agreement. Conflicts for which no solutions are found shall be settled through diplomatic channels.
 
Article 18
 
This Agreement shall apply to the territory of the Republic of Lithuania and to the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
 
 
Article 19
 
As from accession of the Republic of Lithuania to the European Union, any information related to the offences against customs legislation of the Community, which the Customs Administration of Azerbaijan may communicate to the Customs Administration of Lithuania, may be then transferred by the latter to the European Commission having notified the Customs Administration of Azerbaijan thereof in advance.
 
Entry into force and termination of the Agreement
Article 20
 
1.         This Agreement is concluded for an unlimited period.
 
2.         Contracting Parties shall notify each other in writing through diplomatic channels about the implementation of the necessary internal procedures for the entry into force of this Agreement. This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the last notification has been received.
 
3.         The provisions of this Agreement may, at any time, be subject to amendment and supplement with the written consent of both Contracting Parties. All amendments and supplements shall enter into force in the order established in paragraph 2 of this Article.
 
4.         This Agreement shall remain in force three months after the date of receipt of a written notification by one of the Contracting Parties about the intention of the other Contracting Party to terminate the Agreement.
 
 
Done in Vilnius, on 2 April of 2004, in duplicate, in the Lithuanian, Azerbaijani and English languages, all texts being equally authentic.
In case of any divergence of interpretation of the provisions of this Agreement, the English text shall prevail.
 
In witness whereof the undersigned, duly authorised thereto, have signed this Agreement.
 
 
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA
 
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN