Training for French speaking trainers of the ESA region at the WCO Regional Training Centre in Mauritius - Harmonized System and Customs Valuation

04 September 2019

As part of the Regional Train-the-Trainers Programme for French‑speaking trainers of the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region, between 22 and 26 July 2019, the WCO Regional Training Centre in Mauritius hosted a group of Customs officials to enhance their skills for delivering HS and Customs Valuation training in accordance with WCO standards and in line with the necessary requirements.

This advanced training Workshop, financed by the Finland CCF Fund, was led by two WCO experts together with two qualified educationalists from the Customs Administration of Mauritius.  The Workshop brought together 14 Customs officials, from Burundi, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Rwanda, who are engaged primarily in tariff classification and Customs valuation work

In his opening address, the Mauritius Revenue Authority’s Director of Customs recognized the importance of vocational training and the ongoing acquisition of knowledge in the Customs sphere, in order to develop professionalism and enhance performance.  He also drew attention to the importance of regional Customs co-operation, as well as the region’s collective interest in achieving its objectives.

The Workshop approach was practical and participatory, with training sessions structured around the specific topics of the HS nomenclature – with particular reference to high-technology products, textiles and foodstuffs – and complexities in the application of the valuation methods laid down by the WTO Valuation Agreement, as well as the Revenue Package.

During the Workshop, after a refresher session on the role of an HS trainer, the participants were given the opportunity to demonstrate through practical exercises their ability to organize high-level training activities in the ESA region, individually or in groups, in the areas of the HS and Customs valuation as well as on certain topics covered by the Revenue Package developed by the WCO to assist its Members.

The participants practised preparing course notes on specific HS and Customs valuation concepts, and planning a Workshop on the HS, Customs valuation and related topics.

This gathering of participants from different ESA region countries gave rise to fruitful exchanges concerning the Revenue Package, its objectives and its themes, especially in relation to the HS and Customs Valuation.

An opportunity arose for a roundtable discussion on the future of the Harmonized System, which addressed the progress made with the use of the HS in the region and focused on the barriers to its application and the reasons behind them.  Following this discussion the participants, being familiar with the region’s context and environment, expressed their views about solutions for improving the application of this tool which plays a highly significant role not only in revenue collection and trade facilitation, but also in compliance and enforcement.