WCO Supports Bahamas on Advance Ruling System for Classification

06 June 2018

The World Customs Organization (WCO), within the framework of the newly signed agreement between the WCO and Bahamas Customs and Excise Department (BCED) and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), organized a National Workshop on the development of an advance ruling system for the classification of goods under the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS). This Workshop, conducted in Nassau from 22 to 25 May 2018, was attended by 25 Customs officers and facilitated by two classification experts from the WCO Secretariat.

The workshop focused on advance rulings for classification 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, several presentations with respect to advance rulings, as well as tools and instruments developed under the Revenue Package, were delivered.  At the discussion session, participants gave presentations on the current situation within BCED with regard to tariff classification infrastructure as well as potential paths forward in relation to advance rulings in that area.

At the end of the workshop, the participants presented the results of the practical application of the Diagnostic Tool on Tariff Classification, Valuation and Origin Work and Related Infrastructure, including an action plan with proposals and solutions related to the modernization of classification work and to the implementation of an advance ruling system for classification.  The Comptroller of Customs, Dr. Geannine MOSS, noted that in 2012, the transformation of the BCED began with funding assistance from the IDB.  This funding would allow BCED to modernize and enhance overall operations.  She recognized the importance of advance rulings in resolving disputes prior to importation, promoting the development of trade and encouraging investment.  She pledged to continue to build the knowledge base of Customs officers.