Study Visit to WCO Headquarters for representatives of Portuguese-speaking African countries

22 March 2024

A Study Visit for the Customs Administrations of Portuguese-speaking African countries to the World Customs Organization Headquarters was held from 11 to 15 March 2024 at the margins of the 73rd session of the Harmonized System Committee (HSC). The activity was organised as part of the ongoing support provided to African countries under the EU-WCO Programme for the Harmonized System in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), funded by the European Union.

Following the outcomes of the workshop on the implementation of the HS 2022 for Portuguese-speaking African countries that took place in July 2023 in Cape Verde and the work plan that pursued, it was deemed important that the HS/Tariff experts from Customs Administrations get the opportunity to attend the work of the WCO HSC and share experiences with peers from around the world. This initiative is also in line with the competency development process in the area of tariff classification of goods developed under the HS-Africa Programme.

The Study Visit was a first occurrence where as many Portuguese-speaking countries could attend the HSC. Tariff experts from Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Sao Tome & Principe had an opportunity to learn, exchange, network, and enhance their knowledge and abilities to efficiently navigate the HS by getting a hands-on experience on the workings of the 73rd HSC. Portuguese interpretation of the meeting was provided throughout the week, with the financial support of the European Union.

In parallel to their participation to the HSC, officials had the opportunity to have a meeting with representatives of the other countries of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP). The meeting allowed participants to provide an overview of the status of the implementation of the new version of the HS; analyse the challenges, constraints, as well as experiences and good practices within the CPLP; present the respective structures of the service responsible for HS and the national training strategy, as well as the needs for capacity building; and discuss how the HS-Africa Programme can further support Customs Administrations of Portuguese-speaking African countries.

The outcomes of this Study Visit are intended to improve and strengthen tariff classification work at national level and create greater collaboration among these Customs Administrations, as well as to further encourage them to participate more in the future meetings of the HS Committee.

As per the established work plan, the HS-Africa Programme will conduct a series of competency development workshops for Portuguese-speaking African countries that shall conclude with an accreditation workshop. This work shall be closely coordinated with CPLP Secretariat.

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