Regional HS Seminar for the West and Central Africa Region

22 May 2013

With sponsorship from the Customs Co-operation Fund/Japan, the WCO and the Customs Administration of Burkina Faso jointly organized a Seminar for the West and Central Africa Region at the Regional Training Centre in Ouagadougou, focusing on supporting the implementation of WCO Standards related to the HS.

The Seminar was attended by officials from the Region’s 23 Customs administrations and from two French-speaking administrations in the East and Southern Africa Region.

It consisted of technical training on the 2012 version of the HS and on diagnosing how to improve classification work in the Region’s administrations, bearing in mind the Council Recommendations in this respect (Recommendations on programmes for binding pre-entry classification information (1996) and on a good tariff classification work model (1998)).

It was against this backdrop that all the participating administrations were given an opportunity to describe their situation as regards the organization of classification work, resulting in the identification of ways to enhance it.

What emerged from the different presentations is that the majority of countries in West and Central Africa do not yet possess a sufficiently coherent and binding administrative structure in order to implement the latest versions of the HS, despite a clear willingness to improve matters. The major stumbling blocks encountered are associated with a lack of human and financial resources.

These Customs administrations do, however, have very small teams capable of resolving disputes concerning the application of the HS, sometimes turning to the WCO to do so.