Namibia Customs and Excise hosted a WCO Revenue Package national Workshop from 30 June to 3 July 2015 in Windhoek with the aim of preparing the Administration for the implementation of an advance ruling system for classification and origin, as required under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
The representatives of the WCO focused on the importance of a well-organized classification and origin infrastructure and well-defined and effective classification and origin practices before introducing the advance ruling system.
Presentations were made on the theoretical and practical understanding and implementation of new WCO materials developed under the WCO Revenue Package Phase II, such as the Guidelines on Customs Infrastructure for Tariff Classification, Origin and Valuation and the Technical Guidelines on Advance Rulings for Classification, Origin and Valuation.
Twelve senior and mid-level managers participated actively in the discussions and used the WCO Diagnostic Tool on Tariff Classification, Valuation and Origin Work and Related Infrastructure to assess the current situation and to identify areas for attention. As a result, a number of action points in relation to an advance ruling system, such as amending the Customs and Excise Act, establishing procedures and guidelines for Customs and traders, improving the procedure for settlement of disputes, creation of a rulings database, providing capacity building and improving communication with economic operators, were proposed to the Commissioner of Namibia Customs and Excise, Mr. B.S. Simataa. He agreed that several actions were required and he thanked the WCO for its support and emphasized that his Administration was fully committed and would ensure full support to the project.
During the discussions, the participants also proposed other measures that could improve the classification and origin infrastructure. Being Member of SACU (the South African Customs Union) it was suggested creating a consultation forum with other SACU countries to improve the work at regional level. The establishment of a customs laboratory at national level, a regional (SACU) laboratory, or using a private laboratory were also given attention. The participants also suggested making more use of the Intranet to disseminate information to Customs staff. Finally, more capacity building was also sought.
Namibia Customs and Excise will include the establishment of an advance ruling system for classification and origin in its upcoming Annual Plan and subsequently develop an action plan. The Secretariat will continue its support in this respect.