ECOWAS and UEMOA meet to discuss HS 2022 and advance rulings

15 September 2021

From 6 to 10 September 2021, Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Monetary and Economic Union (UEMOA) held a regional meeting to examine a draft regulation on advance rulings and to discuss the seventh edition of the Harmonized System (HS) entering into force on 1 January 2022. It was organized jointly by the ECOWAS Commission and the WCO, in the context of the EU-WCO Programme for the HS in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), funded by the European Union.

The meeting brought together delegates from all the 15 Member States - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo, as well as the ECOWAS Commission, the UEMOA Commission and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat. Mauritania attended the meeting as an observer.

During the first two days of the meeting, delegates reviewed and validated the draft ECOWAS regulation establishing a legal framework for advance rulings. The document will be submitted to policy bodies for formal approval and adoption prior to its adoption at the national level by Member States. The Regulation will set up a common standard for Members to issue advance rulings, in line with the relevant international standards, thereby streamlining the introduction of advance ruling systems in Member States.

The second part of the meeting was held in the form of a seminar on the HS 2022 and was delivered by HS-Africa Programme experts. During the seminar, a comprehensive and detailed presentation on the HS 2022 amendments was provided, which was followed by discussions of various aspects of the implementation of the HS 2022. Participants received the HS 2022 Nomenclature, the HS 2022 Amendments brochure as part of the working materials distributed by the HS-Africa Programme.

The ECOWAS Commission informed Members that the final HS 2022-based version of the Common External Tariff would be available before the end of September, well in advance of its entry into force, leaving Members sufficient time to migrate their national classification system to the new version in time. The HS-Africa Programme pledged further support to the two Regional Economic Communities and their Members in their efforts to implement the HS 2022 and to establish advance ruling systems.

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