WCO works with CEMAC towards sustainable Tariff and Origin infrastructure and work model

14 August 2023

The World Customs Organization (WCO), in partnership with the CEMAC Commission, organized meetings of the Committee of Tariff and Nomenclature, and the Committee of Origin from 1 to 4 August 2023 in Douala, Cameroun. The meetings were hosted by the Ministry of Finance of Cameroun and were organized under the EU funded programmes for HS and Origin Africa.

Both Committees, in the context of the established work plan with CEMAC Commission, worked to enhance the capacities of CEMAC Commission and its Member States for better management of tariff matters and to ensure full implementation of the 2022 edition of the Harmonized System. The meetings were attended by Origin and Tariff experts from Cameroun, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon, as well as representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the AfCFTA Secretariat and UNCTAD.

In their opening remarks, Mr. Mbogo Ngabo SELI, Commissioner in charge of CEMAC Common Market Department, and Mr. Samuel Désiré KWEDI, Head of Delegation of Cameroonian Customs, expressed their appreciation to the European Union and WCO for the continuous support provided under the HS Africa Programme. They highlighted the outstanding work and efforts undertaken since 2019 that resulted in the establishment of a migration matrix to implement the HS amendments, followed by several technical meetings and targeted technical assistance that concluded with the implementation of the HS 2017 in all member states in 2021, and dedicated support for the migration to the HS 2022. They stressed the importance of this meeting to give another impetus for all CEMAC countries in finalizing the migration to the latest edition of HS. Furthermore, they invited the representatives of the Customs Administrations and other experts who had joined the proceedings by invitation to examine the draft texts establishing the Committees of Tariff and Origin, respectively submitted for consideration, with a view to ultimately achieving economic development and a better integration of the CEMAC zone.

In addition, they welcomed the EU WCO new programme of Origin as a great opportunity for the region to modernize its practices and work model as well as building sustainable capacities and competences that shall benefit the region and facilitate efficient implementation of the AfCFTA.

The meetings were a driver to support all countries to finalize the migration to the HS 2022, considering that Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, and Equatorial Guinea have not yet implemented to latest version of the HS. One of the objectives of this meeting was to take stock of the state of play in the migration process, the challenges hindering the migration to HS 2022 and the support needed for each country. It was also an opportunity for countries that successfully migrated to share experience and best practices, as well as to project forward for a seamless implementation of the next editions of the HS.

During the meetings, the legal texts establishing the CEMAC committees of Tariff and Nomenclature and Origin were reviewed and adopted at technical level. The Origin Committee also revised and adopted the regulation relating to the approval procedure for products originating from CEMAC, which shall contribute to facilitating trade and in implementing self-certification. All adopted legal texts shall be submitted to the Council of Ministers of the Union of Central African States for validation. The meetings were concluded with a way forward to assist all members in implementing the HS 2022 by the end of the year.

The meetings proceedings have seen active contribution and participation of experts from IMF and UNCTAD. The WCO EU HS and Origin Africa programmes worked in full complementarity with the support provided by the different initiatives of IMF and UNCTAD in the region. The WCO shall further build upon these partnerships to provide meaningful and impactful support to CEMAC Commission and its members.

For more details, please contact wcoHSAfrica@wcoomd.org.