Legal Documents

Agreement on preshipment inspection

Preshipment inspection (PSI) is the practice of employing specialized private companies to check shipment details — essentially price, quantity, quality — of goods ordered overseas. Used by governments of developing countries, the purpose is to safeguard national financial interests (prevention of capital flight and commercial fraud as well as customs duty evasion, for instance) and to compensate for inadequacies in administrative infrastructures.

Preshipment inspection (PSI) is the practice of employing specialized private companies to check shipment details — essentially price, quantity, quality — of goods ordered overseas. Used by governments of developing countries, the purpose is to safeguard national financial interests (prevention of capital flight and commercial fraud as well as customs duty evasion, for instance) and to compensate for inadequacies in administrative infrastructures.

The agreement recognizes that GATT principles and obligations apply to the activities of preshipment inspection agencies mandated by governments. The obligations placed on PSI-user governments include non-discrimination, transparency, protection of confidential business information, avoidance of unreasonable delay, the use of specific guidelines for conducting price verification and the avoidance of conflicts of interest by the PSI agencies.

The obligations of exporting contracting parties towards PSI users include non-discrimination in the application of domestic laws and regulations, prompt publication of such laws and regulations and the provision of technical assistance where requested.

The agreement establishes an independent review procedure — administered jointly by an organization representing PSI agencies and an organization representing exporters — to resolve disputes between an exporter and a PSI agency.

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