WTO updates 07/22

July 15, 2022

AfCFTA Members meet to discuss Outstanding Rules of Origin and the AfCFTA Draft Manual on Rules of Origin

Members of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) held the 7th meeting of the Sub-Committee on Rules of Origin (RoO) to discuss outstanding issues, the draft AfCFTA RoO manual, and the alignment of Rules of Origin legal texts and related trading documents. The meeting took place in Accra, Ghana. 

Cambodia Customs benefits from WCO guidance on IPR border enforcement

From 16 to 18 May 2022, the World Customs Organization (WCO) conducted a National Workshop on Combatting Counterfeiting and Piracy in Cambodia. The Workshop was held thanks to financial support from the Customs Cooperation Fund of Japan (CCF/Japan) and in collaboration with the WCO Regional Office for Capacity Building for Asia/Pacific (ROCB A/P). This Workshop was aimed mainly at supporting implementation of Cambodia Customs’ new regulation on Customs IPR border enforcement. The regulation was introduced in 2021 to stop counterfeit items at Cambodia’s border following applications by right holders. 

Electronic tariff platform goes live in Lesotho

On 10 June 2022, the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) held an inauguration ceremony to announce the official launch of a new electronic tariff platform, developed by the LRA in partnership with the EU-WCO Programme for Harmonized System in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), funded by the European Union. 

EU and UK agree on way forward in WTO dispute concerning UK’s green energy subsidy scheme

The EU and the UK have agreed on a way forward to address the EU’s concerns about discrimination in the UK’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, which is the UK’s main mechanism for supporting low-carbon electricity generation. The agreement is recorded in an exchange of letters between Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis and the United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan. 

Extension of the WCO COVID-19 Project until June 2023

With the approval of the Government of Japan, which has granted a one-year extension, the WCO COVID-19 Project will continue until June 2023. 

Free zone experts of the East and Southern Africa and West and Central Africa regions discuss effective implementation of the WCO Practical Guidance on Free Zones

The World Customs Organization (WCO) organized an online Regional Workshop on Free Zones for the East and Southern Africa (ESA) and West and Central Africa (WCA) regions from 15 to 17 June 2022, in close cooperation with the WCO ESA and WCA Regional Offices for Capacity Building (ROCB/ESA and ROCB/WCA). 82 participants from 23 Member administrations joined the dialogue to explore the ways for the sustainable development of free zones with enhanced Customs involvement. 

Mongolia becomes part of the SECO-WCO Global Trade Facilitation Programme (GTFP) Family

On 4 July 2022, the Mongolian Customs General Administration (MCGA), the Swiss Cooperation Office in Mongolia, and the World Customs Organization (WCO), within the framework of the SECO-WCO Global Trade Facilitation Programme (GTFP), held the official kick-off of the Light-Touch Intervention (LTI) in the country, aiming to support Mongolia in strengthening the application of risk management in Customs control. This LTI will focus on providing assistance for reviewing the current risk management framework and Customs control strategy, developing a risk-based control strategy, aligned with WCO instruments and tools, and international best practices in risk management. 

Members accept Korean-US request for further time for talks on washers safeguard dispute

WTO members agreed at a special meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 7 July to give Korea and the United States further time to discuss a possible settlement in the dispute initiated by Korea regarding a US safeguard measure on large residential washers. 

WTO circulates arbitration decision in US-Canada paper dispute

On 13 July, a WTO arbitrator issued its decision on the methodology Canada may use to fix the level of suspension of concessions or other obligations in the goods sector vis-à-vis the United States if, in the future, the US applies countervailing duties on Canadian goods based on a measure found to be inconsistent with WTO rules. The decision stems from the dispute proceedings in “United States — Countervailing Measures on Supercalendered Paper from Canada” (DS505). 

WTO members review six free trade agreements, stress importance of transparency

WTO members considered six free trade agreements between Ukraine and Israel, Namibia and Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom and Jordan, the United Kingdom and Chile, the United Kingdom and Canada, and the European Union and Central America at a meeting of the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (RTA) on 27 June. Members also reviewed implementation of the RTA Transparency Mechanism, under which members are required to notify their RTAs to the WTO. Members stressed the importance of providing information on time to ensure the Transparency Mechanism can be implemented efficiently. 

The Customs Administrations of Bolivia and Colombia cooperate to enhance Trade Facilitation

From 28-30 June 2022, the SECO-WCO Global Trade Facilitation Programme (GTFP) organized a study visit of the Customs Administration of Bolivia (AN) to Bogotá, Colombia, to foster and facilitate the exchange of experiences and lessons learned between Bolivia and Colombia, as well as, promote the bilateral and regional cooperation to facilitate safe international trade. This activity was designed to support the strengthening of the Bolivian AEO Programme and the recently created National Trade Facilitation Committee, to share best practices and successful measures, aiming to ensure the sustainability of trade facilitation measures in Bolivia.During the study visit, the Bolivian delegation participated in a Trade Facilitation Forum where Customs officers and the private sector analyzed concrete examples of the impact of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement on National competitiveness, application of disruptive technologies and the future of Customs, among other topics. 

WCO Delivers a Risk Management Workshop for Indirect Taxation Authority, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The World Customs Organization organized a Risk Management Workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indirect Taxation Authority, in the HQ Banja Luka from 27 to 30 June 2022. The workshop was attended by 24 of ITA staff and was financially supported by CCF Korea. Participants were from 4 Regional Centres and ITA HQ and covered all levels, from field Customs Officers to higher management level. The four days workshop was conducted by a representative from the WCO Risk Management Programme in the Compliance and Enforcement sub-directorate, and a WCO accredited expert from the Polish National Revenue Administration.




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