Congo Customs develops its Rules of Origin competencies with focus on AfCFTA

11 December 2023

Under the framework of the EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme, funded by the European Union, the World Customs Organization (WCO), in partnership with the Directorate General Customs and Indirect Taxes of the Republic of Congo, held a national training workshop on rules of origin for Customs and other relevant stakeholders. The workshop was held in Brazzaville, Congo, from 4 to 8 December 2023 and brought together Customs and trade officials as well as representatives from Chambers of Commerce and private sector with the objective to assist Congo in enhancing its knowledge and application of preferential rules of origin.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Guénolé MBONGO KOUMOU, Director General Customs and Indirect Taxes, stressed the importance of rules of origin in the operationalization of the AfCFTA and underlined that consultations among all stakeholders is required for a meaningful implementation of the agreement. He further thanked the WCO and the EU for their support to Congo Customs, which contributes to the improvement of the trade climate and the competitiveness as well as to the elimination of the vulnerabilities of the Congolese economy.

To kick off the workshop, a visit to a local manufacturing and packaging company was organized to discuss challenges and opportunities facing the private sector at the wake of the implementation of the AfCFTA in Congo.
During the workshop participants worked on key concepts for proper origin determination, related operational and procedural issues, including origin certification and origin irregularities, as well as the establishment of efficient origin management. In addition, participants discussed specific areas of concern, including the low level of knowledge and use of the FTAs and challenges linked to verification of origin including trough administrative cooperation.

Throughout the workshop, participants actively contributed to the discussions and various case studies and appreciated the opportunity given by the workshop to exchange knowledge and experiences among different services as this approach is beneficial for enhanced cooperation and coordination within the Administration. At the end of the workshop, participants made recommendations to the administration on possible improvements of origin related matters.

The EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme will continue its work with Congo Customs to equip Customs officials with extended knowledge for efficient implementation and application of rules or origin.

For further information please contact EU-WCORoOAfrica.Program@wcoomd.org