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Africa Customs Union moving towards Customs world class performance!.

24 agosto 2009
Southern Africa Customs Union moving towards Customs world class performance!
August 2009

Specific pilots combating fraud, tax avoidance and crime in the areas of textiles and cigarette smuggling will be the result of a Customs modernization programme launched by the five Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) countries Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa.

The programme will also lead to implementation of a common Authorized Economic Operator model with mutual recognition between the five countries, giving a boost for trade facilitation and considerable benefits for business.

These initiatives are part of the SACU - WCO Customs Development Programme, a programme sponsored by the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and designed to implement modern Customs procedures in the five SACU countries, based on WCO international conventions and standards.

During the first Steering Committee, which was held on 4 August 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa, the SACU region approved all outcomes of the extensive programme scoping work and set the ground for the way ahead. The Steering Committee meeting was chaired by Namibia and comprised of the SACU Heads of Customs, the SACU Secretariat, the interims Regional Project Manager and representatives of the WCO Secretariat. With the Steering Committee’s endorsement the project will now move into the operational implementation phase.

The agreed action plan will be concentrated on revenue protection and anti-smuggling as well as Trade Facilitation for business - which is especially important under the difficult circumstances of the Global Financial Crisis.

In a comment Mr. Lars Karlsson, WCO Director of Capacity Building said “This is huge step forward for the region and I am very pleased about the hard work done by the involved Customs Administrations and the SACU secretariat leading to the operational start of this programme. I am also grateful for the financial support from SIDA that makes it possible to further develop already existing trade facilitated processes through institutional Customs reform and modernization, while at the same time also enhancing the protection of revenue and people in the Member countries of the SACU region”.