WCO kicks off its Transit Guidelines Project

04 July 2016

The Organization launched the WCO Transit Guidelines Project by holding a Transit Workshop from 27 June to 1 July 2016 in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. This Workshop was run in cooperation with the Côte d'Ivoire Customs Administration and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Experts from the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the African Development Bank (AfDB), JICA and the Customs administrations of West, Central and North Africa, the European Union and Peru were invited to attend the Workshop. Regional Economic Communities, namely the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), also sent transit experts to the Workshop.

The Project was initiated to convert the current WCO Transit Handbook into "Transit Guidelines" offering clear guiding principles and recommended practices for transit regimes. Considering the fact that there are countless regional and national initiatives on transit, Guidelines such as these will significantly contribute to the harmonization of different regional transit projects, support the economic growth of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and promote regional economic integration. The five-day Workshop focused on discussing the possible contents of the Transit Guidelines and sharing good practices for transit operations, in the form of recommendations, to be incorporated into the Guidelines as well. Transit experts exchanged their views on over 100 standards drafted on different aspects of transit operations including guarantee systems, fees and charges for transit, electronic tracking systems, effective information sharing and one stop border posts.

The WCO is planning to organize its next Transit Workshop in late October 2016 in East and Southern Africa in order to enrich the contents of the Transit Guidelines with best practices from other African countries. The development work on new Transit Guidelines should be accomplished next year.