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The intent of this dictionary was to produce a broad listing of terms, which are commonly used in trade negotiations and especially within the context of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) with a view to providing an information tool for the public at large. The dictionary is presented in the four official languages of the FTAA: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

The compilation does not attempt to present the entire universe of terms used nor does it seek to prejudge or to affect in any way definitions or approaches currently proposed by any country in any trade negotiation. In fact, many of the definitions included in the publicly-available Draft FTAA Agreement which are still the subject of difficult debates have been excluded from this dictionary. The definitions are based on widely available source material including other trade agreements.

An alphabetical listing of the terms is included to facilitate the use of the dictionary. The terms and their definitions are presented by general negotiating theme found in the FTAA and in other trade negotiations.

An electronic version of this document can be found on the following websites: IADB, OAS, and ECLAC.




Code of conduct The collection of rules applicable to customs officers regarding conduct, conflict of interest and possible sanctions and applicable disciplinary action. See Dispute Settlement, page 23, where this text may have a slightly different meaning.
Customs Administration The Government Service responsible for the application and control of compliance with the set of measures in force to assure the fulfillment of the laws and regulations that Customs is obligated to apply.
Customs broker Any third party whose business concerns arranging for the clearance of goods.
Customs clearance of goods The accomplishment of the Customs formalities necessary to allow goods under a Customs procedure.
Customs duty The duties laid down in the Customs tariff to which goods are liable on entering or leaving the Customs territory.
Customs infraction Any breach, or attempted breach, of Customs law.
Customs legislation The statutory and regulatory provisions relating to the importation, exportation, movement or storage of goods, the administration and enforcement of which are specifically charged to the Customs, and any regulations made by the Customs under their statutory powers.
Customs operations All the operations which must be carried out by the persons concerned and by the The Customs in order to comply with the Customs law.
Customs transit The Customs procedure under which goods are transported under Customs control from one Customs office to another.
Customs valuation The customs value constitutes the basis for applying customs duties.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Consists of an exchange of electronic data between computer systems in a standard format.
Exportation of goods The Customs procedure applicable to goods which, being in free circulation, leave the Customs territory and are intended to remain permanently outside the territory.
Importation of goods The Customs procedure which provides that imported goods enter into free circulation in the Customs territory upon the payment of any import duties and taxes chargeable and the accomplishment of all the necessary Customs formalities.
Manifest of load (Cargo declaration) Information submitted prior to or on arrival or departure of a means of transport for commercial use providing the particulars required by the Customs relating to cargo brought to or removed from the Customs territory thereon.
Personal effects All articles (new or used) which a traveler may reasonably require for his or her personal use during the journey, taking into account all the circumstances of the journey, but excluding any goods imported or exported for commercial purposes.
Security Which ensures to the satisfaction of the Customs that an obligation to the Customs will be fulfilled. Security is described as “general” when it ensures that the obligations arising from several operations will be fulfilled.
Re-importation of goods The Customs procedure under which goods which were exported may be taken into home use free of import duties and taxes under some conditions.
Temporary admission/ importation of goods The Customs procedure under which certain goods can be brought into a Customs territory conditionally relieved totally or partially from payment of import duties and taxes; such goods must be imported for a specific purpose and must be intended for re­exportation within a specified period and without having undergone any change except normal depreciation due to the use made of them.