Notification to the Parties
No. 2000/068 Geneva, 14 December 2000
1. The Conference of the Parties, at its third meeting, directed the Secretariat to design and, at the request of individual Parties, print and distribute serially numbered adhesive security stamps. Such stamps were to serve as a measure against forgery and misuse of documents.
2. Whilst the use of security stamps was previously widespread, the Secretariat’s records show that the number of Parties ordering stamps has declined. Although the Secretariat has, at one time or another, supplied stamps to a total of 119 Parties, only 66 are apparently using security stamps currently. It appears that many significant trading Parties do not use security stamps. The Secretariat has no evidence that Parties that do not use security stamps suffer from greater misuse of their documents than those that do use stamps. It is also aware that many Parties now use security paper for permit and certificate forms or generate such forms electronically. These appear to be more effective methods of incorporating security measures.
3. The directive from the Conference of the Parties to the Secretariat was that the stamps should be supplied to the Parties at cost. In recent discussions with the printer of the security stamps, the Secretariat has discovered that Parties have only been charged for the numbering of the stamps and that the other costs of production have been absorbed by the Secretariat. The true cost should be twice the current charge, which is CHF 0.15 per stamp. The original print run of sheets of stamps, which are subsequently numbered according to the needs of Parties, took place in 1982. Stocks of those sheets will soon be exhausted.
4. There is currently no provision in the Secretariat’s budget for a fresh print run of sheets of stamps. Even if there were, negotiations with the printer show that a new production of sheets would result in the price per stamp rising by a factor of three. The price is also dependent upon demand remaining at previous levels, whereas every indication is that it will continue to reduce and, thus, drive the unit price higher still.
5. Although the requirement for the Secretariat to print and distribute security stamps was repealed at the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, it is willing to continue to administer the printing and supply of security stamps. In light of the above information, however, it wishes to bring to the attention of the Parties the significant price increase that will face Parties continuing to use security stamps. A decision as to whether to order a new stock of unnumbered stamps needs to be taken early in 2001.
6. Parties that wish to continue using security stamps, and are willing to accept a price increase of at least three times the previous level, are therefore requested to advise the Secretariat by 31 January 2001.
7. The Secretariat is of the opinion that the requirement and effectiveness of the use of security stamps is worthy of review and that it should form part of the appraisal of import and export controls referred to in Notification to the Parties No. 1999/52. In that Notification the Secretariat sought suggestions as to how controls could be modernized to take account of technological advances. Only two Parties responded to this request and further contributions are therefore welcome.
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