Madagascar boosts its staff’s competencies in the area of tariff classification of goods in the run up to launching its advance ruling system

18 March 2022

In coordination with the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation’s on-going initiative to support Malagasy Customs with the establishment of its Advance Ruling mechanism, the World Customs Organization delivered a capacity-building workshop on the Harmonized System and commodity classification from 7 to 11 March 2022 in Antananarivo. The workshop was sponsored by the EU-WCO Programme for Harmonized System in Africa (HS-Africa Programme).

The workshop benefited 25 senior and middle management level customs officers. The workshop aimed at creating a pool of specialists with a good understanding of all of the most essential theoretical and practical aspects of commodity classification. The workshop also provided an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues related to the determination of tariff codes, the analysis of classification of specific products, as well as the detailed explanation of the General Interpretative Rules. During the practical exercises, the participants were asked to classify sample products and draft advance rulings using the standard notification form developed by Malagasy Customs to that effect. Tariff experts from Algeria, France and Mauritius, who co-facilitated the workshop, shared the experience of their administrations on the management of advance ruling systems.

Mr. Chopra, Team Leader of the GATF Advance Ruling Project in Madagascar, welcomed the WCO’s assistance to Malagasy Customs in the area of HS and indicated that future synergies will continue to be sought with the WCO HS-Africa Programme under the GATF project to jointly support Madagascar with the operationalization of a modern advance ruling mechanism that will meet the requirements of the WTO TFA Article 3 as well as the expectations of the global trading community. He further indicated that the GATF is currently supporting Malagasy Customs with the digitization of its Advance Ruling mechanism for maximum impact, transparency and continuity of services and that in addition to an upcoming training in the area of Rules of Origins for Malagasy Customs, coaching and support to the private sector will be provided to facilitate both the request for and issuance of advance rulings.

On the margins of the workshop, a meeting with representatives of importers as well as Licensed Customs Brokers was held to discuss the benefits of the advance rulings for the private sector and the implementation of the HS 2022 in Madagascar and the challenges faced by the private sector in that respect. The representatives of the private sector highlighted the preeminent role that tariff classification was playing in determining the key aspects of the Customs clearance process for products moved across the border. They took note of the WCO tools developed to support HS users in the process of migration to the HS 2022, such as Correlation Tables and other instruments and also registered their appreciation of the effective and participative approach adopted by the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation’s in its support to their country for the establishment of the Advance Ruling mechanism

In his closing remarks at the end of the workshop, Director General of Madagascar Customs, Mr. Zafivanona Ernest Lainkana expressed his appreciation to the WCO, the European Union and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation for their joint efforts to support Madagascar in the implementation of an advance rulings system. He stressed that the assistance provided to his administration would enable it to finish all the preparatory work soon and start issuing advance rulings in the coming months.

This activity particularly highlighted the benefits and impact of donor coordination.

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