The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) have agreed to implement and create awareness on the importance of Harmonised System (HS) 2020 which comes into force on January 1, 2022, for the economic growth of the continent.
The three economic blocs, however, highlighted their role to ensure that the HS 2022 version of their Common External Tariffs (CETs) is made available as soon as possible, to allow sufficient time to member countries to do the implementation work at the national level. The regional economic communities reiterated their firm and unambiguous commitment to completing the preparatory work on the new versions of their CETs in a timely manner.
The economic blocs resolved to work for the success of the HS 2022 at recent consultations by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) with them to discuss progress achieved in the preparation to the migration of Common External Tariffs (CETs) to the new version of the Harmonized System, which enters into force on 1 January 2022, how the work arrangements were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and how to overcome the current challenges.
The WCO agreed a way forward for regional activities was agreed with each of the economic bloc as well as assistance to RECs’ Member administrations, based on a holistic approach addressing various HS-related areas, in particular, technical support on the migration to the HS 2022 and implementation of advance ruling systems.
The consultations gave an opportunity to review the workflow schemes of implementation of HS 2022 amendments, which had been agreed upon during previous meetings conducted by the HS-Africa Programme with the different RECs in 2019, as well as to adjust the established work plans and activities.
The three RECs reiterated their firm and unambiguous commitment to completing the preparatory work on the new versions of their CETs in a timely manner.
The consultations, which were conducted in the form of online meetings within the framework of the EU-WCO Programme for the HS in Africa (HS-Africa Programme) and funded by the European Union and implemented by the WCO.