Preferred Trader/AEO Programme preparations in the SACU Region
Johannesburg, May 2012
A WCO workshop on the topic of Preferred Trader/AEO was conducted in the beginning of May in Johannesburg, South Africa, with the involvement of the WCO Secretariat and the member countries of the Southern African Customs Union - SACU (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland). The objective was to identify and detail the possible benefits for the envisaged SACU regional Preferred Trader/Authorized Economic Operator Program, and thus to prepare for implementation of respective pilot operations. The implementation of AEO structures in the SACU Region is part of the WCO Sub-Saharan Customs Capacity Building Programme financed by the Swedish Government through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SIDA.
During the first week of the workshop, members from the Customs administrations and the WCO Secretariat together with the SACU Secretariat worked intensely to prepare the actual content and design of the identified benefits (VAT Refund Scheme, Simplified Release, Periodic Export Declarations, Nominal / Regional Bond and Prioritized and Flexible Inspection Scheme). High level process descriptions were produced as well as requirements/conditions, risks and their treatment and also capacity needs to establish the basis for work to follow.
On the final day of the week, the Project Steering Committee met in order to - among other things - agree on the identified and detailed PT/AEO benefits. The Commissioners of Customs expressed full support on the benefits as concepts and urged the working group to continue detailing these even further.
During the second week, the agreed five PT/AEO benefits were presented to representatives from the trade and transport communities of the SACU member countries to ensure that the benefits were attractive. All representatives, covering different parts of the supply chain, expressed that the envisaged simplifications through the benefits are of utmost interest and importance to the private sector.