Côte d’Ivoire upgrades its skills in tariff classification and prepares for the launch of its advance rulings system

02 June 2023

From 24 to 28 April and from 8 to 12 May 2023, two national workshops on the Harmonized System and commodity classification were held in Grand Bassam and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, respectively. Coordinating with the initiative of the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GaTF) and under the aegis of the EU-WCO Programme for the Harmonized System in Africa (HS Africa Programme) funded by the European Union, these two workshops are part of the comprehensive package of assistance to provide joint support to Côte d’Ivoire in bringing into operation a modern advance rulings mechanism, which will meet the requirements of Article 3 of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement and the expectations of the global trading community.

The two workshops, the first at intermediate level and the second at advanced level, were delivered to more than 25 Customs officials from various technical services of the Directorate General and some border units. The workshops aimed to form a pool of specialists with a good level of understanding of all of the most essential theoretical and practical aspects of product classification. They also provided an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues relating to the determination of tariff codes, the analysis of the classification of specific products and the detailed explanation of the General Interpretative Rules. During the practical exercises, the participants were invited to classify samples of products that regularly give rise to disputes with economic operators.

Ms. Roxana Toran Villaroya of the European Union Delegation to Côte d’Ivoire welcomed the assistance provided by her institution to the Customs administrations in Africa through the HS Africa Programme, implemented by the WCO, which aims to support the various partners in Africa in achieving the uniform, coordinated application of one of the fundamental instruments of trade facilitation that is the WCO’s Harmonized System (HS) Convention.

The representative of GIZ in Côte d’Ivoire, who also supports the Directorate General of Customs of Côte d’Ivoire in the implementation of an advance rulings system, Ms. Roseline Fischer, reaffirmed the commitment of her organisation alongside the WCO and the EU to support Ivorian customs in this implementation.

Colonel Léopold Ake, the Chairperson of the Côte d’Ivoire Customs Reform and Modernization Committee, representing the Director General of Customs, thanked the WCO, the European Union and the GaTF for their joint efforts to support Ivorian Customs in implementing an advance rulings system. He stressed that the assistance provided to his Administration would mean that issuing advance rulings could start before the date Côte d’Ivoire had committed itself to under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

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

For more information, please contact hs@wcoomd.org.