EAC and WCO furthering cooperation in core areas of Customs work

09 November 2021

From 25 to 29 October 2021, the East African Community (EAC) convened a meeting of its Sectoral Committee on Customs to discuss a wide range of issues related to Customs and trade policies. The meeting was held at the EAC Secretariat Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, and was attended by all the six EAC Partner States. In the framework of the ongoing cooperation between the EAC and the EU-WCO Programme for Harmonized System in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), the EAC invited representatives of the Programme to join the meeting.

During the first three days of the meeting, senior officials from the EAC Customs administrations gathered to examine technical aspects of the issues included in the agenda. Of particular importance were discussions related to the preparation of the new version of the Common External Tariff (CET), digitalization projects such as an electronic tariff platform and a duty remission scheme management system, as well as implementation of advance ruling programmes, capacity building activities and other modernization initiatives. Outcomes of the meeting were subsequently presented to Commissioners General of Customs who convened during the last two days to examine and approve the report by the senior officials.

In the presentation delivered by the HS-Africa Programme during the meeting, emphasis was placed on the results achieved within the Programme to date, and the outlook for future cooperation established according to a joint multi-year work plan. It was stressed that the Community was on the fast track to implementing the HS 2022 version of its CET, launching web-based tools and platforms related to tariffs and modernizing advance ruling programmes, among other things. The Programme pledged strong and continued support in all the key areas of Community’s HS-related work for the future.

The Committee commended the HS-Africa Programme for the support in the all-important area of commodity classification and tariff work, welcoming new opportunities offered by the Programme and thanking the European Union for the funding provided. Delegates expressed their appreciation of the fact that the activities implemented in cooperation with the Programme were driven by the needs of the Community and were addressing real challenges that the EAC was facing, in a targeted and efficient manner.

For more details, please, contact capacity.building@wcoomd.org.