WCO Time Release Study (TRS) National Workshop in Tunis, Tunisia

29 February 2016

From 19 to 22 January 2016 in Tunis (Tunisia), the World Customs Organization (WCO) held a National Workshop to familiarize Customs staff and other stakeholders with the Time Release Study (TRS) and prepare them for the conduct of a study. This four-day Workshop was held with financial support from the WCO Customs Co-operation Fund (CCF) for the benefit of the Tunisian Customs Administration. Expert input was provided by two members of the WCO Secretariat and Côte d’Ivoire Customs. With a view to ensuring a better understanding of the TRS and its overall environment, presentations dealt with the WCO’s role in assisting governments to implement the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) through its Mercator Programme, the methodology to be used in conducting the TRS and in process mapping for Customs clearance, the national experiences of some countries that had already conducted a TRS, and use of the WCO TRS software.

More than 50 participants representing (among others) Tunisian Customs, Tunisia TradeNet (TTN), the Ministry of Transport, the Port of Rades office of the Tunisian Stevedoring and Handling Company (STAM), the Customs brokers’ union and the private sector took part in the Workshop. During the opening ceremony, the Director General’s spokesperson emphasized the importance of the Workshop, especially with regard to the valuable role which the WCO’s TRS can play in identifying bottlenecks in Customs clearance and in suggesting practical ways of improving the situation at borders.

The level of attendance at the event reflected the importance placed on this initiative by Tunisian Customs. All participants applauded the quality of the Workshop and especially appreciated the support given by the WCO to the Tunisian Customs Administration. The Workshop resulted in the production of a draft model of process mapping for Customs clearance, with participants undertaking to share materials with their colleagues as appropriate in order to complete this mapping and to conduct a TRS in the near future, regarding this as a guarantee of performance and modernization.

The Workshop was brought to a close by Mr.Adel Ben Hassen, Director General of Customs, who congratulated the participants and thanked the WCO for its support. He also expressed gratitude to Côte d’Ivoire Customs which had agreed to make one of its senior officials available to help with this task.