African RECs gauging progress on the implementation of HS 2022

25 septiembre 2020

From 10 to 21 September 2022, the WCO held a series of consultations with African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to discuss progress achieved in the preparation to the migration of Common External Tariffs (CETs) to the new version of the Harmonized System, which enters into force on 1 January 2022. Consultations were conducted in the form of online meetings, within the framework of the EU-WCO Programme for the HS in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), funded by the European Union and implemented by the WCO.

The HS Africa Team and the representatives of the East African Community (EAC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) discussed the progress towards the implementation of the 2022 version of the HS, how the work arrangements were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and how to overcome the current challenges.

The consultations gave an opportunity to review the workflow schemes of implementation of HS 2022 amendments, which had been agreed upon during previous meetings conducted by the HS-Africa Programme with the different RECs in 2019, as well as to adjust the established work plans and activities. A way forward for regional activities was agreed with each of the RECs, as well as assistance to RECs’ Member administrations, based on a holistic approach addressing various HS-related areas, in particular, technical support on the migration to the HS 2022 and implementation of advance ruling systems.

The outcomes of the consultations highlighted the recognition by the RECs of their central role in the process of the implementation of HS amendments and their acute awareness of the importance to ensure that the HS 2022 version of their CETs be made available as soon as possible, to allow sufficient time to Member countries to do the implementation work at the national level. The three RECs reiterated their firm and unambiguous commitment to completing the preparatory work on the new versions of their CETs in a timely manner.

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