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Strengthening the capacity of the SACU and its Members in the area of classification

30 julio 2020

On 24 July 2020, experts from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Secretariat, the SACU Member States and the WCO Secretariat held a virtual meeting to discuss a wide range of issues related to the Harmonized System (HS) as the Union has started the migration of its Common External Tariff (CET) to the next version of the HS. The WCO works in partnership with the SACU and its Members on this project as part of the EU-WCO HS Africa Programme, funded by the European Union.

The meeting was attended by representatives of all the five SACU Member States - Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa - who exchanged their views on how to make the existing model of implementation of HS amendments more efficient and inclusive, how to streamline the process of migration to the new versions of the CET for all Member States and how to ensure that the 2022 version of the HS is implemented in a timely manner.

In opening the meeting, Mrs. Ngoanamokgotho Maggie Tladi, SACU Deputy Director, Trade Facilitation, stated that the SACU was seeking to create a permanent and properly institutionalized mechanism to coordinate HS-related matters among the Members States of the Union, under the auspices of the Heads of Customs. She stressed the importance of tariff work within the overall Customs modernization agenda of the SACU, encouraging Member States to actively contribute to it.

The meeting culminated with the provisional approval of the Union’s HS migration framework outlining a time-bound step-by-step process of adoption of HS amendments in the SACU CET. Moreover, in order to have a clear vision on the overall process of the HS 2022 implementation, a detailed action plan was agreed by all the five SACU Member States. The SACU and the WCO will continue their cooperation to implement the action plan, with the support of the EU-WCO HS Africa Programme. The Programme will join forces with the SACU to work on the establishment of a Union’s HS working group, optimization of the HS amendments implementation process, setting up of Advance Rulings systems and further strengthening the capacity of the SACU and its Members in the area of classification.

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