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WCO National Workshop on the Development of a Pre-arrival Processing System and the Implications of E-Commerce on Customs in Tunisia

31 mars 2017

At the invitation of Tunisian Customs, the WCO conducted a national workshop to discuss the ‘Development of a Pre-arrival Processing System’ and the ‘Implications of E-Commerce on Customs’ in Tunis, Tunisia from 20 to 24 March 2017. 25 middle-ranking officials from various divisions such as risk management, procedures, inspection, and IT participated in the workshop.

The first topic on the ‘Development of a Pre-arrival Processing System’ was covered during the first two days where, based on the current national situation, the WCO presented detailed information on the need and benefits of pre-arrival processing together with a step by step implementation approach. Relevant provisions of various instruments and tools such as the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), the SAFE Framework of Standards, the Guidelines concerning Integrated Supply Chain Management, Application of Information and Communication Technology, the RKC ICT Guidelines, and the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) along with successful case studies were explained to participants.

Discussions also enabled the participants to develop a draft action plan along with a set of recommendations and identify possible ways forward in making necessary amendment/adjustments in their national legislation/regulations with a view to potentially carry out a pilot in the near future.

During the last 3 days of the workshop, both WCO experts and participants discussed the “Implications of E-Commerce on Customs’. The discussion highlighted the significance of growing cross-border e-commerce and the need for Customs administrations to adequately prepare to address issues stemming therefrom.

WCO experts provided detailed information and explanations on international and developments, including opportunities and challenges in the area of cross-border e-commerce related to facilitation and control, and presented related WCO tools and instruments, case studies and the ongoing work of the WCO Working Group on E-Commerce. The Workshop reflected on several current and emerging challenges emanating from e-commerce and explored potential solutions.

The workshop also enabled the participants in developing a set of recommendations as potential way forward, which inter alia included adoption of a risk-based approach based on advance electronic data (including from Post); developing IT and data analytics capabilities, enhanced coordination with partner government agencies and active engagement with other stakeholders involved in the e-commerce supply chain to explore opportunities for the exchange of data.

During the closing ceremony, Mr Adel Ben Hassen, the Director General of Tunisian Customs highlighted the need for Tunisian Customs to adequately prepare to address issues stemming from the growing cross-border e-commerce. In the same vein, he noted the importance of the implementation of a pre arrival processing system and how Tunisian Customs is currently implementing WCO instruments and tools to achieve trade facilitation agenda.