The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has started the preparation for the implementation of the HS amendments in its common external tariff following the recent adoption of the 2022 version of the Harmonized System (HS) by the World Customs Organisation Council.
The desire to commence the implementation was at the centre of a recent workshop held at the ECOWAS headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria. The workshop organized by the WCO in the framework of the EU-WCO Programme for HS in Africa.
Possible avenues to optimize and streamline the existing cooperation mechanisms between the ECOWAS, the UEMOA and members of the two regional economic communities were examined with a view to ensure that all members complete the migration to the new version of the HS by the date of its entry into force.
Mr. Mamadou Traoré, Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion of the ECOWAS, recognized the prominent role of the HS in the global trade facilitation agenda as he reiterated the commitment of the ECOWAS to align with the efforts of the WCO to ensure that the 2022 version of the HS is implemented in a timely manner, stressing that this would be in the best interest of Customs administrations, Regional Economic Communities, the private sector and, in general, the economic integration in Africa and the AfCFTA implementation.
In the debriefing session, WCO, the ECOWAS and the UEMOA have agreed on a roadmap of follow-up activities to streamline the process of the implementation of the HS amendments at regional and national levels. The EU-WCO Programme for Harmonized System in Africa will continue its cooperation with Regional Economic Communities and Customs administrations to ensure sustained progress in the area of HS-related work. The workshop gathered several experts of the ECOWAS, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) Secretariat, as well as two ECOWAS Members – Liberia and Nigeria.