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Dominican Republic Customs Commences Mercator Programme Tailor-made Track

28 abril 2017

The Dominican Republic Congress ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in December 2016 and submitted the document of accession to the WTO which was accepted on 28 February 2017. The Dirección General de Aduanas (DGA) had conducted a self-assessment exercise gauging compliance with the WTO TFA prior to the lodgement process. Before prioritising initiatives and dedicating resources towards a range of TFA-specific areas, the DGA sought the independent advice of the WCO.

In the last week of March 2017, the WCO and DGA evaluated each paragraph of the TFA articles with Customs legislation, procedures, IT systems, equipment and relationship with other agencies and the private sector. Considerable contact occurred prior to March 2017. As well as telephone conference calls and several face-to-face meetings in Brussels, the DGA provided a suite of Customs and government documentation and information. Much of the work during the week involved monitoring and review of the WTO TFA assessment through interviews and presentations in Santo Domingo.

One of the aims of the WCO evaluation as expressed by the DGA, was to inform their current review and drafting of their Strategic Plan 2017-2021. The next steps include developing strategic and operational objectives, indicators and measures. These activities will lead to agreed approaches for reporting, monitoring, evaluation and risk management. The DGA has established a pivotal role in implementing obligations under the TFA. The DGA, as an early participant in the Mercator Programme, and the WCO are both keen to continue working together to ensure the successful implementation of the TFA, as they both can see the benefits accruing as implementation progresses.

The scope of this joint WCO-DGA analysis was in the context of the Customs environment. The subsequent conclusions and recommendations did not deal with whether or not WTO TFA categorizations were compliant or not. Nor did the scope of work analyse other Dominican Republic border agencies compliance. However, where clear overlaps were identified these links were dealt with under the National Committee for Trade Facilitation (NCTF) framework.