WCO helps French-speaking countries of the WCA and ESA regions implement the HS 2017 edition

22 July 2016

With the support of the Japanese Customs Co-operation Fund (CCF), the WCO and the Burkina Faso Customs Administration organized a regional seminar to assist French-speaking Members of the West and Central Africa (WCA) and East and Southern Africa (ESA) regions with timely implementation of the 2017 edition of the Harmonized System (HS). The seminar took place from 27 June to 1 July at the Regional Training Centre in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and was attended by 27 participants representing 20 countries from the WCA and ESA regions.

The seminar was officially opened by Mr. Casimir Sawadogo, Deputy Director General of Burkina Faso Customs, whose speech stressed the role of the HS as the universal language of Customs and trade and focused on the importance of HS 2017 implementation on 1 January 2017 for the countries of the WCA and ESA regions.

The seminar gave participants the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the HS amendments contained in the Council Recommendations of 27 June 2014 and 11 June 2015 and to deepen their knowledge of the HS Convention and WCO tools to assist HS 2017 users.

The latest cross-cutting tools on classification, origin and valuation, developed under Phase II of the WCO Revenue Package devised to meet Members’ needs for accurate and effective revenue collection, were presented to participants. They also heard explanations about the Guide for Technical Update of Preferential Rules of Origin, allowing technical update of the Rules of Origin in relation to changes in the HS.

Two workshops were held during the seminar, during which participants reported on progress and challenges with implementation of the 2017 edition of the HS as well as on their administrations’ classification practices and current related infrastructures.

The discussions highlighted the importance of prompt enactment of the HS 2017 in the common external tariffs (CETs) of regional Customs or Economic Unions (including WAEMU, ECOWAS and CEMAC), given that Members’ national tariffs are based on community CETs.

Participants also expressed their strong commitment to enhance regional Customs co-operation on sharing mirror statistics relating to classification and valuation, which could help Members reduce risks and narrow the revenue gap.