The WCO supports Namibia Revenue Authority (NamRA) with capacity building on Authorized Economic Operators (AEO)

13 June 2023

As part of the its multi-year strategic Mercator collaboration with Namibia Revenue Authority (NamRA) under the framework of the United Kingdom’s His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) funded Accelerate Trade Facilitation Programme, the WCO conducted an in-country AEO technical assistance mission from 8 to 11 May 2023. The objective is to support NamRA with the expansion of its current Preferred Trader Programme, which is similar to an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Compliance Programme, to other economic operators in the international supply chain beyond importers and exporters. Moreover, as per its Annual Performance Plan, NamRA aims to establish a full AEO Programme in line with the WCO SAFE Framework on Standards, which would also require safety and security criteria to be adhered to. The Namibian initiative is noteworthy also in a regional context considering that Southern African Customs Union (SACU) has recently signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement to recognize AEOs across the region.

The WCO team comprised of two WCO experts from Turkey and South Africa. Together with representatives from different NamRA units such as the Trade Facilitation Division, Risk Management, Post Clearance Audit, Registration and Licensing, and Communications, the team zoomed in on the desired expansion of the current Preferred Trader Programme and the possible validation techniques for different types of economic operators as well as related business models, and cooperation and harmonization with partner governmental agencies on AEO validations. Furthermore, recognizing that clear and known benefits are key to successful AEO programmes as a partnership between the private sector and Customs, the deliberations also focused on possible additional benefits for the Preferred Trader and the future AEO Programme respectively, as well as an outreach and communication plan.

The mission included a visit to the premises of the only certified Preferred Trader of NamRA. The company expressed its excitement and willingness to join a pilot programme with its supply chain for the transition from Preferred Trader to full AEO implementation. The deliberations and recommendations were concluded in an Action Plan.

The WCO looks forward to its continued partnership with NamRA under the Accelerate Trade Facilitation Programme for quicker, easier and less costly cross-border trade for sustainable development and economic growth. WCO capacity building and technical assistance is provided, among others, on the Time Release Study on the port of Walvis Bay, Customs Valuation, and Coordinated Border Management.

For more information on the Accelerate Trade Facilitation Programme, please see here.

For more information on WCO capacity building, please, contact