Ethiopian Customs Commission sets a tone on its Rules of Origin competency development

17 March 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 Ethiopian Customs Commission (ECC) held a national training workshop on rules of origin in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 6 to 10 March 2023 with the participation of Customs officials from different branches and regional stations within the Ethiopian Customs Commission and officials from the Chamber of Commerce. The objective of the workshop was to assist ECC in enhancing its knowledge on preferential rules of origin and its ability to understand and use the rules related to origin especially in view of the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Rules of Origin.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Azizew Chanie Abebe, Customs Operation Deputy Commissioner of the ECC, welcomed the 35 participants to the workshop and expressed his sincere appreciation to the WCO and European Union for providing such technical assistance and funding the workshop. He explained that Ethiopia is currently engaging on Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and has ratified the AfCFTA in April 2019 and working on the submission of the tariff offers. In addition, he stated that, the ECC has been undertaking reforms and modernization activities such as:  the introduction of electronic single window, paperless customs clearance facility, implementation of electronic origin certification, and the application of modern scanning and tracking technologies. He also highlighted the timely migration to the HS2022 which was possible with the support of the WCO under the EU-WCO HS Africa programme. In light of the reform and modernization measures undertaken by the ECC, the training workshop comes on the right time to develop the competency of ECC officials and enhance their understanding on rules of origin under the AfCFTA and other FTAs.

During the workshop, participants worked on key concepts for proper origin determination, related operational and procedural issues, and the establishment of efficient origin management. Furthermore, the WCO facilitators presented the Revenue Package initiatives, including the Guidelines on Origin Certification, Preferential Origin Verification and Advance Rulings, which have been designed to assist WCO Members in bringing the provisions in Free Trade Agreements into application. The workshop was an occasion to discuss the state of play of the continental trade agreement as well as its Annex 2 on rules of origin. In addition, participants exchanged on specific areas of concern, including the low level of knowledge and use of the FTAs and challenges linked to administrative cooperation. Discussions also emphasized the importance of verifying the originating status of goods, rather than merely checking the authenticity of the Certificate of Origin.

The EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme will continue its work with the Ethiopian Customs Commission on rules of origin, which will equip Customs officials with extended knowledge of the rules of origin for efficient implementation and further assist them in training all relevant stakeholders.

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