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East and Southern African Members discuss Transit Guidelines

Transit experts from Customs administrations in the East and Southern Africa region discussed the WCO Transit Guidelines at a Workshop held in Lusaka, Zambia, from 31 October to 4 November 2016. The Workshop was run in cooperation with the Zambia Revenue Authority and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Experts from UN-OHRLLS, UNCTAD, UNECE, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, USAID, JICA, IRU, the African Union and the European Union were invited to attend the Workshop. Transit experts from Regional Economic Communities, such as COMESA, EAC, ECOWAS, SADC and UEMOA, also took part.

The five-day Workshop focused on discussion of the possible content of the Transit Guidelines, which will offer clear guiding principles and recommended practices for the establishment of effective transit regimes and will incorporate Members’ existing practices relating to transit operations.

During the Workshop, transit experts exchanged views on over 146 standards drafted on different aspects of transit operations, including information exchange, guarantee systems, fees and charges for transit, Customs seals and coordinated border management. Participants visited the One Stop Border Post of Chirundu located at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. They were able to see how Zambian and Zimbabwean Customs coordinate and cooperate with each other as well as with other relevant border agencies in order to facilitate trade, including transit operations.

Participants from Customs administrations, international organizations and development partners acknowledged the necessity and timeliness of the development of the Transit Guidelines by the WCO Secretariat. This new WCO instrument is in consonance with relevant international agreements, such as the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, UN Vienna Programme of Action, Revised Kyoto Convention, TIR Convention, etc., and directly contributes to their implementation at national, regional and international levels. The development partners in attendance manifested their interest in deeper cooperation with the WCO on further practical realization of the Transit Guidelines in developing countries.

The development of the Transit Guidelines will be completed next year and this new WCO tool will be launched at the WCO Global Conference on Transit to be held on 10 and 11 July 2017 at WCO headquarters in Brussels.

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