Standing Committee

The Convention being a treaty between States, the official representatives of the Convention’s Contracting States are the competent Ministries, i.e. Ministries responsible for precious metals (in particular the legislation). In some cases, Ministries have sub-delegated their powers to another official body (e.g. the national Standards Organisation).

Assay Offices, which are the only authorised bodies entitled to apply the Convention’s provisions, notably the Common Control Mark, enjoy a special status under the Convention and are represented in the Standing Committee.

What is the Standing Committee? 

The Standing Committee is the “general assembly” of the Convention, in which all Contracting States are represented. Each Contracting State is represented by officials from the competent Ministry (usually Trade or Finance) and by representatives of the authorised Assay Offices (as defined in Article 5 of the Convention). As mentioned above, some countries are also represented the competent Supervisory Authority, under which the Assay Offices are placed (e.g. Tukes in Finland or SWEDAC in Sweden).

The Standing Committee is the main decision-taking body and the driving force of the Convention. Each Contracting State has one vote, but decisions are normally taken by consensus.

What is its role & mandate?

The Standing Committee can also make either recommendations for the better functioning of the Convention or proposals for amendments to the Convention and its Annexes.

As the Convention is an agreement between countries, and not just Assay Offices, any changes to the Convention and its Annexes must be agreed unanimously and ratified by all Contracting States.

How often does it meet?

The Standing Committee meets normally twice a year. One of the meetings usually takes place in Geneva (Switzerland), where the Convention Secretariat is located, but this is a not a fixed rule.