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The WCO and WTO partner for capacity building on the Harmonized System

10 septiembre 2020

On 3 September 2020, the WCO and WTO joined together to conduct a full-day “WTO-WCO Capacity Building Workshop on the Harmonized System Convention for WTO Members”.

Mrs. Suja Rishikesh-Mavroidis, Director, Market Access Division, WTO, expressed her view that the Harmonized System (HS) “has been the most powerful trade facilitative measure introduced over the last thirty years”.  She pointed out that being able to apply the right HS code to goods was not only essential in terms of reporting, but also unlocked information across a wide spectrum of trade-related matters, including origin, import licensing, regulations and a myriad of other vital data.

Mr. Liu Ping, Director, Tariff and Trade Affairs, WCO, commented further on the success of the HS Convention and extended his congratulations to the latest Contracting Party, the Seychelles.  In addition to its importance to trade, he also acknowledged that there were complexities within the HS and there was consequently a need to continue building awareness of how it functioned, its trade implications and its ongoing development.  The messages conveyed underlined the fundamental importance of the HS to day-to-day trading operations and the significance of the strong working relationship on the HS maintained by the WTO and WCO.

The Chairperson of the WTO Committee on Market Access, Mr. Anatoly Chaplin, led the Workshop.  Representatives both from the WCO Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate and WTO Market Access Division shared in-depth presentations with interested Members on the nature, purpose and functioning of the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System and the ensuing HS, as well as on the interlinkages with the work carried out by the WTO. 

An appreciative global audience of approximately 300 representatives of WTO Members participated in the live event.  Various WTO Members noted that the cooperation between the two Organizations was of great importance and value.  As one Member pointed out, it also mirrored the crucial cooperation between national Customs and Trade administrations.