WCO supports the establishment of an Advance Rulings Programme in Ethiopia

20 November 2017

A WCO Revenue Package national Workshop on Customs Infrastructure and the development of a mandate, role and responsibilities of an Advance Rulings Unit, funded by HMRC, was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 13 to 17 November 2017. 20 Customs officers participated in the Workshop, which was facilitated by an expert from the WCO Secretariat as well as a Mercator Programme Advisor.

Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) is in the process of modernizing its organizational infrastructure and revising and updating the Customs Law.  A dedicated unit for Advance Rulings within ERCA does not exist, although the legal framework is in place for tariff classification and a directive based on WCO standards has been issued.

The Workshop focused, in particular, on Advance Rulings for classification and origin since they will play a vital role in promoting trade facilitation, as required by the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which entered into force on 22 February 2017.

During the Workshop, presentations with respect to Advance Rulings, as well as other tools and instruments developed under the Revenue Package, were delivered. At the discussion session, participants defined the mandate for the unit in charge of Advance Rulings, and discussed the role and responsibilities of the Unit as well as the revision of the legal framework and procedural aspects including publication.

At the end of the Workshop, the participants presented the results of the discussions, including action points with proposals and solutions related to the modernization of classification and origin work and to the implementation of an Advance Ruling Unit.  The Deputy Director General for Customs of ERCA recognized the importance of those proposals and of trade facilitation in general. He confirmed that the action points for Advance Rulings on classification and rules of origin developed by the participants during the WCO Workshop would be discussed further with the ERCA senior management.