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Steering Committee of the EU-WCO Programme for Harmonized System in Africa holds its first meeting

09 mayo 2019

The Steering Committee of the EU-WCO Programme for the Harmonized System (HS) in Africa held its first meeting on 2 May 2019 at the WCO headquarters in Brussels.  Representatives of the EU, the WCO, the African Union as well as selected Regional Economic Communities and Customs administrations from Africa gathered to discuss and validate the overall strategy of the Programme and its approach to planning aspects of the Programme implementation.

The meeting was held in the margin of the WCO Conference on the future of the HS to allow the Steering Committee members to engage in discussions on strategic dimensions of the HS and have a better understanding of the key role that it plays in regional and continental integration, its value as a trade facilitation instrument and its prominence in the work of the WCO and its Members.

In his opening address, Mr. Liu Ping, Director of Tariff-and Trade Affairs at the WCO, expressed his confidence that the Programme has the adequate capacity and resources to reach its objectives, even if a great deal of work lies ahead so that beneficiaries may catch up with the rhythm of the HS amendments.  He congratulated the Steering Committee on holding its first meeting and wished the Programme every success in moving forward.

Those remarks were echoed by Mrs. Brenda Mundia, Deputy Director of Capacity Building at the WCO, who chaired the meeting of the Committee.  She welcomed the progress made in the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA ) stressing the fact that the HS would be indispensable for the AfCFTA to become fully functional.  She pointed out that the Programme is a major step to support the implementation of the HS on the African continent emphasising the importance of ensuring synergies with other initiatives undertaken by the Capacity Building Directorate for targeted and efficient technical assistance.

The Steering Committee examined and discussed the Programme governance structure, the key objectives to be achieved, the strategic vision of the implementation phases and the overall planning process. The Committee approved the proposed way forward, and encouraged more African Regional Economic Communities and Customs administrations to join the Programme as beneficiaries.

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