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Algeria steps up efforts to establish Customs laboratory

04 marzo 2022

From 23 to 25 February 2022, the Algerian Customs hosted a national workshop on Customs laboratories, which was delivered within the framework of the EU-WCO Programme for the Harmonized System in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), funded by the European Union. It was conducted to follow-up to the outcomes of the first workshop on Customs laboratories that the Programme had organized in Algeria in 2020. The workshop was aimed at assessing the action plan drafted by the Algerian Customs for setting up a modern Customs laboratory in the country. The workshop was facilitated by two chemistry experts from the Spanish Customs Administration.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Saci Toufik, Director of Taxation and Tax Bases of the General Directorate of the Algerian Customs, confirmed the commitment of his administration in implementing a modern Customs laboratory as another step in the modernization of the Algerian Customs. He stressed the importance of Customs laboratories for the purposes of revenue collection, protection of the society and the environment as well as trade facilitation. He thanked the WCO and the European Union for the support and collaboration in this area of Customs work, and expressed his Administration’s interest in becoming part of the WCO Regional Customs Laboratories programme.

Participants were informed of the structure and the functioning of the Spanish Customs Laboratories network and of the possibilities of replicating that model for the new Algerian Customs laboratory. Discussions focused on the WCO Customs Laboratory Guide, sampling procedures, analysis of narcotics, security and safety issues, as well as laboratory information management systems (LIMS). Experts visited several locations considered for setting up the future laboratory to examine their suitability for that purpose. Furthermore, it was agreed that a study visit to Customs laboratories in Madrid and Barcelona would be organized for a group of experts from the Algerian Customs in 2022, with the support of the HS-Africa Programme.

The workshop was also an opportunity for participants to deepen their knowledge of the relevant technical standards with regard to the infrastructure, instruments and staff of a Customs laboratory. Following comprehensive discussions of various aspects of the project, an assessment was made as to the way forward and concrete action for establishing a Customs laboratory in Algeria. The conclusions of the workshop were presented to the Director of Taxation and Tax Bases at the end of the workshop and will serve as the basis to plan next steps in the implementation of a Customs laboratory in Algeria.

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