Awareness-raising workshops on COVID-19 and Harmonized System in the EAC

01 December 2020

From 26 October to 21 November 2020, the East African Community (EAC) delivered an awareness-raising programme on the role of Customs in combatting the COVID-19 crisis. The EAC joined forces with the WCO to conduct a series of workshops for Customs officers of nine (9) border posts, other government agencies and private sector stakeholders in the East African region, in the context of the EU-WCO Programme for the Harmonized System (HS) in Africa.

The objective of the workshops was to increase the awareness of relevant stakeholders at the borders on COVID-19 prevention measures to ensure uninterrupted flow of vital medical supplies as well as international trade in general. The workshops sought to update the participants on various EAC initiatives to implement international agreements and standards aimed at facilitating free movement of goods.

The workshops highlighted the relevance of the WCO HS classification reference for COVID-19 medical supplies, the importance of using electronic tariff tools, the benefits offered by advance ruling systems and other trade facilitation initiatives. The role of Customs instruments in facilitating trade and their use by different stakeholders was the main topic of the workshops.

The workshops were attended by over 400 stakeholders from the EAC Partner States. Participants appreciated the effort made by the EAC and welcomed its continuous engagement to ensure a good use of various instruments. They encouraged the EAC to continue its work towards developing a regional regulatory framework for advance ruling systems to allow their implementation in the near future.

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