Support for Somalia to implement the Harmonized System

23 September 2019

On 15 and 16 September 2019 the EU-WCO Programme for the Harmonized System (HS) in Africa organised a series of meetings with representatives of the Customs Administration of Somalia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The meetings were attended by an expert from the Customs Reform and Trade Enhancement Somalia Project (CRATES), jointly funded by the European Union, the UK Department for International Development and the USAID.  The project is assisting Somalia in its efforts to implement a comprehensive strategy of modernization in the area of Customs’ work.

Participants discussed a number of topics concerning implementation of the HS, focusing on accession by Somalia to the HS Convention and establishment of essential elements of a well-functioning tariff classification work model and related infrastructure.  Since the CRATES Project has already been cooperating with the Somalia Customs towards implementation of the HS, it was agreed that joint efforts of the Somalia Customs, the CRATES Project and the EU-WCO Programme for HS in Africa would be the optimal approach to paving the way for sustained progress in that area.

Despite the notoriously complex political landscape in Somalia and a number of lingering issues, the Somalia Customs administration has been taking concrete steps to improve technical aspects of the Customs operation, starting in Mogadishu and progressively rolling out the reform to the rest of the country.  One of major achievements so far has been the implementation of the HS by the Mogadishu airport and seaport Customs offices.  Although the national tariff that is currently in force is not based on the HS, the latter has been used in parallel, with correlation having been established between the two (tariff and the HS).  A new HS 2017-based tariff is expected to be implemented early next year, whereby migration to the HS will be complete.

The EU-WCO Programme for HS in Africa confirmed its commitment to support the administration of Somalia in its work towards full implementation of the HS.

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