Customs: New TRS Guide to further improve trade facilitation

Hameed Ali, Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service

The new feature of the updated version of the Time Release Study (TRS) Guide (Version 3) published by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) is aimed at comprehensively supporting customs administrations, other relevant government agencies and private sector stakeholders in their collective pursuit of measuring the border release/clearance time and taking corresponding policy and operational measures to further improve trade facilitation at the border.

. The WCO Time Release Study is a strategic and internationally recognized tool to measure the actual time required for the release and/or clearance of goods, from the time of arrival until the physical release of cargo, with a view to finding bottlenecks in the trade flow process and taking necessary measures to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures.

The updated version of the WCO TRS Guide, known as the “Guide to Measure the Time required for the Release of Goods (Version 3)” incorporates a number of key features/elements. It brings forward new dynamics and opportunities for Customs Administrations to work in a collaborative manner with other relevant government agencies and trade stakeholders in the arena of performance measurement.

The WCO TRS is specifically referenced in Article 7.6 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) as a tool for Members to measure and publish the average release time of goods. The TRS is being increasingly used by Members with respect to strategic planning and the proper sequencing of TFA measures in accordance with their National Committees on Trade Facilitation (NCTF). In recent years, the tool has been capturing a lot of attention worldwide; the international donor community and the WCO development partners are recommending it as a key performance measure to assess, evaluate, and enhance the implementation of the WTO TFA.

 

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