African Portuguese Speaking Countries gauge progress in the implementation of HS 2022 amendments

24 July 2023

The World Customs Organization (WCO), in partnership with the African Continental Free trade Area Secretariat, convened a meeting with the African Portuguese speaking countries to review progress in the implementation of the seventh edition of the Harmonized System (HS). The meeting was hosted by the Customs Administration of Cape Verde from 10 to 14 July 2023 in Praia, Cape Verde, under the framework of the EU-WCO HS Africa Programme, funded by the European Union. It was attended by delegations of Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, and Sao Tome and Principe, as well as the AfCFTA Secretariat and representative of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).

This meeting intervened as a driver to support all the countries to finalize the migration to the HS 2022, considering that Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe have not yet implemented the latest version of the HS. Gathering the Portuguese speaking countries in one fora gave an opportunity 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 occasion where countries that successfully migrated could share experience and best practices, as well as to project for a seamless implementation of the next editions of the HS.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Osvaldo Rocha, Director General of Cape Verde Customs, expressed his appreciation to the European Union and WCO for the continuous support provided under the HS Africa Programme and reiterated the importance of timely and coordinated implementation of HS amendments. He highlighted that Cape Verde has had challenges in the implementation of the HS 2022 but the work is advancing and that it shall be completed before the end of the year. He stressed the importance of holding sub-regional meetings for Portuguese Speaking Countries to enhance cooperation, exchange on best practices, and work together towards a harmonized process for implementing the HS amendments. 

Mrs. Demitta Gyang, Senior Advisor – Customs, Directorate of Customs Administration at the AfCFTA Secretariat, emphasized the pivotal role of the HS and tariffs in ensuring correct and efficient administration of various trade measures, namely the AfCFTA. She stressed that the implementation of the latest version of the HS is a perquisite under the AfCFTA agreement as stipulated in Article 3 in the annex in trade in goods, and State Parties are highly encouraged to meet their obligations under the HS Convention and the AfCFTA. She welcomed the opportunity to discuss the implementation of the HS 2022 with Portuguese Speaking Countries and looks forward to further engagement with the HS Africa Programme.

During the meeting, delegations of Angola, Guinea Bissau, and Mozambique presented their experience in implementing HS amendments at the national level by sharing their work model and processes. Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe reported the progress achieved so far in their countries, and presented plans for the outstanding actions required to finalize the HS 2022 migration process. They confirmed that the required national arrangements for implementing the HS 2022 were in place and the process would be completed before the end of 2023. The HS Africa Programme will be working with the different countries to ensure that all members implement the HS 2022 in the course of 2023 and shall support with competency development at regional and national levels.

All participants expressed their appreciation to the WCO and the EU for the support provided for the implementation of the HS and in other areas related to tariff work, as well as for the opportunity to bring all Portuguese Speaking countries in a dedicated fora. They reiterated their interest in pursuing the cooperation with the WCO under the HS-Africa Programme.

For more details, please contact