WCO and Namibia Customs held an insightful Customs to Business exchange on Rules of Origin

21 March 2023

The World Customs Organization (WCO), in partnership with Namibia Revenue Authority (NamRA), held a stakeholder training workshop on rules of origin in Walvis Bay, Namibia, from 15 to 17 March 2023 that brought together the private and public sectors. Conducted under the framework of the EU‑WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme (RoO Africa Programme), funded by the European Union (EU), the workshop was attended by Customs officers, Ministry of Fisheries Officials and Namibia Standards Institution staff from the public sector and importers, exporters, customs brokers and manufacturers from the private sector. 

The objective of the workshop was to assist NamRA and its stakeholders in enhancing their knowledge on preferential rules of origin and their ability to understand and use the rules related to origin, especially on fisheries.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Patrick Tongo, the Region Manager, Western Region, Walvis Namibia in NamRA, welcomed the training activity and thanked the EU and the WCO for their support in raising awareness in the business community on rules of origin. He stated that proper enforcement of rules of origin amounts to good achievement on regional integration, therefore enhancing Intra-Africa trade and socio-economic status of the African Countries. In addition, he highlighted that a better understanding of rules of origin can help eradicate the unfair use of rules of origin, which could result in transshipment or trade deflection.

The workshop was part of a comprehensive support package to NamRa under the RoO Africa Programme, delivered on a demand-driven basis.  Rules of origin play a critical component of the Customs clearance, thus knowledge attained from the training will contribute to efficiency and effectiveness of Customs brokers (Clearing Agents) and minimize if not eradicate delays at the ports of exit or entry.

During the workshop, participants worked on key concepts for proper origin determination, related operational and procedural issues, and the establishment of efficient origin management. Further, the WCO facilitators presented the WCO rules of origin tools, such as the rules of origin facilitator, Guidelines on Origin Certification, which have been designed to assist WCO Members in bringing the provisions in Free Trade Agreements into application. The participants examined several practical case studies and discussed specific areas of concern, including the day-to-day challenges faced by the business community in implementing rules of origin in the FTAs. Some challenges are linked to administrative cooperation and overlapping rules of origin.

The EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme will continue its work with NamRA on rules of origin through capacity building for efficient implementation of free trade agreements.

For further information please contact EU-WCORoOAfrica.Program@wcoomd.org