B. Legal acts governing customs records
1.4. International conventions and agreements relevant to customs records. The World Customs Organization (WCO) is the international platform at which countries reach agreements on customs regulations, while the World Trade Organization (WTO) is the body concerned with international trade agreements. From an IMTS perspective, the two most relevant conventions adopted by WCO are the revised International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (known as the revised Kyoto Convention, or RKC), which provides standards for various customs procedures and describes corresponding good practices, and the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (known as Harmonized System Convention, or HS Convention), which sets out the commodity classification. For trade statistics, the most important international agreement adopted by WTO is the WTO Agreement on Customs Valuation. All of these and some other relevant international conventions will be discussed in more detail in the subsequent chapters.
1.5. National laws and regulations. When a country becomes a signatory to a WCO convention (or parts of it), the content of that convention needs to be properly reflected in its national law. Generally, the national law adds further details applicable to the national needs and circumstances. Based on and authorized by the respective national law, various government regulations, administrative acts and service level agreements can be put in place to further elaborate the rights and the responsibilities of the various agencies with respect to the statistical process (see chap. V for details).
1.6. National laws and regulations: experience of the United States of America. The United States Code contains the general and permanent laws of theUnited States by subject matter. It is divided, by broad subjects, into 51 titles and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives. More than half of these titles make reference to laws and regulations enforced by the Administration for Customs and Border Protection. For instance, Title 13, entitled “Census”, contains a chapter on “Collection and Publication of Foreign Commerce and Trade Statistics”. Box I.1 below contains an excerpt from section 301 of that chapter. Another example is Title 19, entitled “Customs duties”, which contains most references to customs procedures.
1.7. Access to information: experience of Canada. Ideally, the national law or regulations on statistics require that statistically relevant information on foreign trade in possession of any institution be made available to the authorized compiling agency. Box I.2 below gives an example of such a legal arrangement, which requires the customs administration ofCanada to provide Statistics Canada, the country’s compiling agency of international trade statistics, with the relevant data.
1.8. Contents of national regulations and advantages of custom records. National customs law usually requires that importers and exporters of goods report particulars of their transactions to customs for the purpose of collection of duties and taxes, for health, environmental and/or other control purposes, and for statistical purposes. In many countries, a person who fails to lodge the required declaration, or knowingly or recklessly lodges an inaccurate declaration, is liable for an offence. Such regulations make customs records a readily available and generally reliable source of data. Further details on customs records as the main data source for trade statistics are provided in chapter II. Their advantages and limitations are discussed in chapter VII and a number of related quality assurance issues are elaborated in chapter IX.
1.9. International recommendations for trade statistics. The United Nations Statistical Commission is the international forum at which countries adopt the international recommendations for trade statistics. At its forty-first session in 2010, the Commission adopted the revised recommendations for international merchandise trade statistics (IMTS 2010). The reflection of these recommendations in national laws or regulations, especially where the recommendations require additional information, allows the responsible agency to more effectively collect, process and disseminate the information necessary for the compilation and dissemination of high-quality international merchandise trade statistics.
 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1503, No. 25910.
 See Legal Instruments Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, done at Marrakash on 15 April 1994 (GATT secretarial publication, Sales No. GATT/1994-7).
 See Official Records of the ECOSOC, 2010, Supplement No. 4 (E/2010/24), chap. I, Sect. B, decision 41/103, para. (b).