Serbia hosts two WCO National Seminars on the modernization of its Customs Laboratory and on the Harmonized System

18 April 2016

Two National Seminars on the modernization of the Serbian Customs Laboratory and on the Harmonized System (HS) and the Tariff Management, respectively, organized jointly by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Serbian Customs Administration, with the support of the Customs Cooperation Fund of Germany (CCF Germany), were held at the Serbian Customs Headquarters, from 5 to 8 and from 11 to 15 April 2016. The two Seminars were attended by more than 60 participants of the Serbian Customs Administration directly involved either in Customs Laboratory matters or in HS/Tariff classification.

The opening of this activity was officiated by the Deputy Director Coordinator of Serbian Customs, Mr. Duško Marinković. In his opening remarks to the participants, the Deputy Director highlighted the importance of the correct tariff classification of goods and the ongoing reform and modernization of the Customs Laboratory in Serbia. He also noted the continuous support of the WCO and CCF Germany to meet the demands of Serbia in its capacity building initiatives and thanked the representative from the WCO Secretariat’s Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate for facilitating the high level discussions on tariff classification and Customs Laboratory issues. Mr. Marinković stressed the importance of the HS as the most widely used instrument of the WCO, responsible for the correct and uniform classification of goods – a key issue for Customs administrations and other relevant international trade stakeholders from both the public and private sectors.

Also present at the open ceremony, Mr. Juan Antonio Fernández, Director of the Customs Laboratory in Barcelona, Spain, who co-facilitated the first Seminar pointed out that the establishment of a modern Customs Laboratory in Serbia would be very beneficial for the Serbian Customs Administration.

During the Seminars the groups discussed the use and future prospects of the HS and some practical cases of tariff classification in relevant areas such as chemical products and "high-tech" commodities. A wide range of HS-related matters were addressed and the participants attending the two Seminars were also thoroughly informed about the fundamental principles and practicalities of HS classification to ensure correct and uniform application of the HS. Under the supervision of the facilitators, the participants in the first Seminar conducted practical sessions of analytical and microscopy determinations for some selected samples in the Serbian Customs Laboratory. The Customs Laboratory of Serbia is a small-medium size laboratory that might be relocated to a new modern building in the future.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Dragana Dubajić, Assistant Director of the Tariff Affaires Division thanked the WCO for its ongoing cooperation and said that Serbia Customs is committed to completing the process of modernizing the Customs Laboratory and improve the HS related infrastructure.