The EU-WCO RoO Africa Programme supports SADC in updating its Rules of Origin to HS 2022

30 March 2023

The World Customs Organization (WCO), under EU-WCO Origin Africa Programme funded by the European Union (EU), and in partnership with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), conducted a validation workshop on the alignment of the SADC Rules of Origin to the 2022 edition of the Harmonized System (HS).

The workshop, which took place from 20 to 23 March 2023, in Johannesburg, South Africa, follows a request by SADC to align its rules of origin. The EU-WCO RoO Africa Programme has provided two preceding technical assistance workshops to update the SADC rules of Origin from the 2002 to the 2022 version of the HS. This process is considered a significant and important step towards the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade.

During the workshop, SADC experts, together with the EU-WCO RoO Africa Programme team, presented the initial draft of the technical updates on Appendix I of the SADC Rules of Origin to the HS 2022 edition. Participants, including Customs Administrations and Ministry of Trade representatives from SADC member states, considered and took note of the draft technical alignments from Chapter 1 to 97 of the HS and from regional Chapter 98.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Alcides Monteiro, Senior Programme Officer, Customs, and Task Manager of the EU-SADC Trade Facilitation Programme at the SADC Secretariat, highlighted the importance of the SADC Protocol on Trade and informed that the non-alignment of SADC list of rules to the latest HS version has caused implementation problems for economic operators and customs authorities. Goods had to be classified twice for purposes of customs clearance, collection of import duties, and origin determination. The technical support from the WCO through the EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme was of high relevance and required to align the rules of origin to the HS 2022 edition.

The validation workshop was a success from Customs and Trade perspectives, and the final draft document will be submitted to the Sub-Committees on Trade Facilitation and Customs Cooperation, the Trade Negotiation Forum, and ultimately to the Committee of Ministers of Trade for consideration.

The SADC Secretariat expressed gratitude to the WCO for its technical support and the EU for its commitment to supporting the SADC region through various programs.

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