On 21 December 2020, the European Union (EU)-World Customs Organization (WCO) Programme for the Harmonized System (HS) in Africa (HS-Africa Programme) delivered a workshop for the Namibia Customs and Excise (NCE) on the implementation of an Advance Ruling System. It was organised in follow-up to the work done under the WCO Mercator Programme as well as previous meetings organised by the HS-Africa Programme on that topic.
The workshop’s main objective was to support the NCE in its efforts to establish a legal framework required to operate an Advance Ruling System. Prior to the workshop, the NCE had drafted a comprehensive advance ruling policy document and had submitted it for review to the WCO. The HS-Africa Programme had done a detailed analysis of the draft document, enlisting experienced WCO accredited experts in the review process, and had provided comments to the NCE in advance of the workshop.
Meeting participants agreed to make several modifications to the draft document, to align it on relevant WCO and WTO standards as well as best practice approach. The experience of the European Union and its Member states in running the EU Binding Tariff Information system was considered particularly useful.
Apart from the review of the draft document, workshop participants have charted progress made to date in the implementation of an Advance Ruling System in general. Special emphasis was placed on rendering the Advance Ruling System user-friendly for trade operators so that it could contribute to facilitating trade as well as increasing certainty and predictability of trade operations. The HS-Africa Programme reiterated its commitment to provide continued support to Namibia in this important area of Customs work.
Story by: Riaan de Lange