On 14 June 2021, the World Customs Organization (WCO) announced that in an effort to strengthen the national system of advance rulings, the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) had stepped up its efforts to review the arrangements in place to ensure their full alignment with the relevant international standards. This topic was at the centre of a workshop held by the BURS on 11 June 2021 in Gaborone, Botswana, organised with the support of the EU-WCO Programme for Harmonized System in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), in cooperation with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Secretariat.
Prior to the workshop, the BURS had made a self-assessment of the existing national programme of advance rulings in terms of its compliance with the basic WCO standard – the WCO Recommendation on the introduction of programmes for binding pre-entry classification information (1996). The self-assessment outcomes have shown that only a limited number of amendments to the system will be needed for it to be fully in line with the recommendation.
Speaking on behalf of the BURS, its Manager of Classification, Valuation and Origin, stressed that the implementation of a comprehensive and trade-facilitative advance ruling system was recognised as one of the priorities by her administration at the level of the strategic plan. She expressed her confidence that Botswana would very soon be able to implement all of the required changes of the system to bring it into full conformity with the standards of the WCO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), with the support of the HS-Africa Programme and the SACU.
The HS-Africa Programme pledged to provide continued support to the BURS to implement the advanced ruling system in Botswana, working hand in hand with the SACU Secretariat and all relevant stakeholders.
Story by: Riaan de Lange