The WCO has long recognised the importance and the many benefits of advance ruling programmes. Higher levels of certainty, predictability and transparency for economic operators and the Customs alike are some of the most obvious gains to be had when a full-fledged programme of advance rulings is up and running in a country. The WCO instruments such as the Revised Kyoto Convention or the Council Recommendation on the Introduction of Programmes for Binding Pre-entry Classification Information highlight the role of advance rulings and provide a set of criteria that they should meet.
The establishment and the design of a national advance tariff ruling programme was the focal point of the Workshop held in Doha (Qatar) from 12 to 15 May 2014. As pre-entry classification information is, in fact, part of a broader concept known as "tariff classification infrastructure", participants took stock of all the elements of the existing model of the tariff classification work, and had a holistic examination of its strengths and weaknesses. It was stressed that the introduction of advance ruling programmes has been included in the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, whereby the establishment of such programmes has been turned into an obligation for WTO Members.
The Workshop gathered officials from different divisions of the Qatar Customs dealing with commodity classification issues, and turned out to be a good opportunity to deliberate on a variety of aspects of the HS Convention that are relevant to the national dimension of the classification work, including its theoretical foundation as well as some of the practical aspects.
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