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The WCO offers its support to the Union of the Comoros in its initiative to accede to the Revised Kyoto Convention

13 marzo 2019

In response to an express request from the Director General of Customs of the Union of the Comoros and with financial support from the Finnish Government through the Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF) for the WCO East and Southern Africa (ESA) region, the WCO organized a national workshop, for the Comorian Customs Administration, on the amended International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures, known as the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC).

The RKC is a WCO legal instrument regarded by the entire Customs community as a blueprint for effective and modern Customs in the 21st Century. Accession to the RKC is perceived as an important milestone in any country’s endeavours to further promote legitimate trade and effective Customs controls. The number of Contracting Parties to the RKC currently stands at 116, and other instruments of accession that have already been signed will, in all probability, be lodged during the forthcoming conference of the Oceania Customs Organisation in May 2019 and the next WCO Council Sessions scheduled for June 2019.

The workshop took place in Moroni (Union of the Comoros) from 18 to 22 February 2019. Its aims were essentially to confirm the preliminary gap analysis conducted by senior representatives of Comorian Customs and to provide an advisory forum for the Customs Administration on the procedure for accession to the RKC. Around 25 senior representatives of different units of Comorian Customs, from the various islands, made an active contribution to the workshop. The Customs Administration had previously held an internal session at which a team made up of senior officials had conducted the preliminary gap analysis.

In his opening speech to the workshop, Mr. Souef Kamalidini, the Director General of Comorian Customs, representing the Minister for Finance and the Budget, set out the vision of the Comorian Government on trade facilitation and stressed the importance and the benefits of being signed up to the RKC. He also described what his country hoped to gain from RKC accession and the progress achieved towards that end so far.

The WCO mission team, consisting of experts from the Secretariat and from the Gabonese Customs Administration, provided detailed advice on the principles of the RKC, the rights and obligations of the Contracting Parties to the Convention and the provisions contained in the body of the Convention, in its General Annex and in its Specific Annexes. With the help of the WCO experts, the workshop participants assessed whether the provisions of the RKC were consistent with the regional and national legislation applying to the Comoros. As part of this exercise, follow-up measures were sketched out for those areas where national legislation was found not to be fully aligned with the provisions of the RKC. A draft detailed action plan for the accession of the Comoros to the RKC and implementation was also discussed and subsequently adopted.

At the workshop's closing session, chaired in person by the Minister for Finance and the Budget, Mr. Said Ali Said Chayhane, the WCO experts said that they were very satisfied with the excellent local organization of the workshop, and they confirmed the WCO’s willingness to provide support for the Customs Administration of the Union of the Comoros in its initiative to accede to the RKC. The Minister and the Director General of Customs took the opportunity to express their gratitude to the WCO for the support which Comorian Customs had received to date. On behalf of the Government, the Minister for Finance and the Budget undertook to assist the Customs Administration and ensure that the conditions required for accession to the RKC were met by June 2019. He described the workshop as “of high strategic importance” to a country that was determined to “open up to the rest of the world”.

On the fringe of this important workshop, the WCO experts were granted a meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, with whom they explored issues of mutual interest. The experts sought the Minister’s support in bringing the accession process to a satisfactory conclusion as swiftly as possible, and they gave him an account of the work currently being done by the WCO on behalf of small island economies. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation assured the experts that they had his full support on both counts.