WCO continues its support for Burkina Faso Customs’ introduction of an advance rulings mechanism

22 November 2017

As part of the West African Customs Administrations Modernization (WACAM) Project financed by Sweden, the World Customs Organization recently led an awareness raising Workshop for the Customs Administration of Burkina Faso, concerning the introduction of an advance rulings mechanism (Article 3 of the TFA).

The Workshop was conducted from 13 to 17 November 2017 in Ouagadougou by a Technical Officer from the WCO Secretariat, with the financial support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

More than 50 participants drawn from the Burkina Faso Customs Administration, other public bodies and the private sector took part in the Workshop, which was opened by Mr. Abel Seglaro Somé, Secretary General of Burkina Faso’s Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Development, and Director General of Customs Mr. Adama Sawadogo.

The Workshop is a key step on the road towards the introduction of an advance rulings mechanism, as it engages Customs managers and relevant stakeholders in the process of bringing this project to fruition.

Where the objectives are concerned, the purpose of the Workshop was to familiarize the Customs officials and stakeholders with the provisions of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and in particular those of Article 3 concerning advance rulings, as well as specifying the meaning of this concept and enabling participants to gain a sufficient understanding of the advance rulings mechanism.

Several topics were discussed during the Workshop, including the benefits to Customs services and economic operators of an advance rulings mechanism, and the tools and instruments that the WCO has made available to Member administrations to assist with the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), including in particular advance rulings.

The spirit of openness which characterized this Workshop enabled the participants to exchange views about the main challenges to be addressed in order to implement an advance rulings system successfully, including the requirements in terms of the legislative framework and procedures, and the need to maintain a register and a database of the rulings given.

The stakeholders expressed their satisfaction with the participatory approach which had been adopted in order to take account of the situation on the ground and the concerns of the private sector, and to engage their interest so that they would provide resources when the project was implemented.  The stakeholders indicated their expectations and expressed their commitment to ensuring that the project works as well as possible.

The Customs Administration of Burkina Faso will conduct further awareness raising sessions on the subject of advance rulings in the near future, in order to reach as many of its officers as possible.

For more information about this activity or the WACAM Project funded by Sweden, please contact the Sweden Programme Director, Mr. Richard Chopra (richard.chopra@wcoomd.org).