WTO updates 08/22

August 16, 2022

EU-WCO-AfCFTA partnership reaches a milestone with the launch of the AfCFTA E-Tariff Book and the Rules of Origin Manual

During the 9th Council of Ministers Meeting, the AfCFTA secretariat launched two major tools deemed key in accelerating trading under the AfCFTA; the AfCFTA E-Tariff Book and the Rules of Origin Manual. Both were developed with the support of the World Customs Organization and the European Union under the EU-WCO HS and RoO Africa programmes. The AfCFTA e-Tariff Book contains all the information on the tariff schedules and applicable tariff rates for all of the AfCFTA State Parties structured based on the WCO 6 digits Harmonized System (HS). This tool is a milestone as it will facilitate the publication of information on rates of duty applied by AfCFTA State Parties under their Schedules of Tariff Concessions with several search functionalities, comparison of applicable rates between all state parties and option to download the results, hence making it a practical instrument for trading under the AfCFTA Agreement. This tool will further include key information on AfCFTA RoO and could be further enhanced as one stop platform for all relevant stakeholders. 

CEMAC Tariff Committee gauges progress in implementation of HS 2022 amendments

The Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) convened a meeting of its Tariff Committee to review progress in the implementation of the seventh edition of the Harmonized System (HS) by member countries and examine other issues in relation to tariff work in the Community. The meeting was held on 25 and 26 July 2022 in Douala, Cameroun. It was attended by delegations of Cameroun, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo and Gabon, as well as the CEMAC Commission and the WCO. The meeting was co-organized and jointly financed by the CEMAC and the WCO, within the framework of the EU-WCO Programme for HS in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), funded by the European Union. This meeting intervened as a result of consultations between the HS-Africa Programme and the CEMAC that concluded that only Cameroun had successfully migrated to the HS 2022. The objective of the meeting was to take stock of the state of play in the HS 2022 implementation process in the other countries of the Community, the challenges hindering the migration to the HS 2022 and the support needed for each country. It was also an opportunity where Cameroun experts shared their experience as best practice in the Community. 

Successful launch of the EU WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme in Accra Ghana

The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the European Union (EU) held a continental inaugural conference on 19-20 July 2022 in Accra, Ghana, to launch the Programme on the implementation and application of rules of origin for enhanced Intra-African trade. Commonly dubbed the EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme, this initiative is aimed at supporting the African continent to improve its capacity to deal with rules of origin and ultimately to support the harmonized and well-coordinated implementation and application of the rules of origin under Annex 2 of the AfCFTA and other regional and international commitments. The conference was attended by African Customs Administration Experts on rules of origin, Ghana Revenue Authority as the host Customs Administration, the AfCFTA Secretariat, the Tripartite Free Trade Area Task Force, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), WCO Regional Offices for Capacity Building (ROCB), the Private Sector, UNCTAD, WTO, ITC, TRALAC, the European Delegation, and the World Customs Organization. 

South Africa initiates WTO dispute complaint challenging EU citrus fruit measures

South Africa has requested WTO dispute consultations with the European Union concerning certain measures imposed by the European Union on the importation of South African citrus fruit. The request was circulated to WTO members on 29 July. 

WCO Promotes Further Awareness on Customs Role in Enforcing Multilateral Environment Agreements for Kenya Revenue Authority and Tanzania Revenue Authority

The WCO in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program (Ozone Action) and the Basel Convention Secretariat, has conducted awareness raising workshops for the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) respectively, to sensitize their Customs departments on the Basel Convention and the Montreal Protocol. The workshops were held consecutively on 13th to 15th July in Nairobi, Kenya; and from 18th to 20th July 2022, in Dar Es Salem, Tanzania, under the auspices of the Sida–WCO Trade Facilitation and Customs Modernization (TFCM) Programme for Sustainable Development in Sub–Saharan Africa, with funding from the Government of Sweden. 

WTO issues new edition of World Tariff Profiles

The WTO issued today (29 July) the 2022 edition of “World Tariff Profiles”, which provides comprehensive information on the tariffs and non-tariff measures imposed by over 170 countries and customs territories. The report was jointly prepared with the International Trade Centre and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). 

WTO launches database on gender equality provisions in regional trade agreements

Commitments for gender equality in trade agreements are cardinal to advancing development objectives as they ensure that women and men can equally benefit from trade opportunities. That was the message from speakers on 28 July during a session on the WTO’s new Database on gender provisions in regional trade agreements, which was launched during the Aid for Trade Global Review. 

WTO high-level event examines how international cooperation can tackle illicit trade

Top officials of six global organizations have called for greater coordination among relevant national and international bodies in the fight against illicit trade in medical products, which puts the health and livelihood of people all over the world at risk. Speaking at a high-level roundtable on 27 July held at the Aid for Trade Global Review, they shared perspectives on activities they are undertaking and how they could engage in closer cooperation. 

WTO members show restraint in trade-restrictive measures despite economic uncertainty

The Director-General’s mid-year report on trade-related developments covering mid-October 2021 to mid-May 2022 shows WTO members continued to exercise restraint in imposing trade restrictions. The report, presented to members on 27 July at a Trade Policy Review Body meeting, looks at the use of trade measures at a time when the world faces severe challenges and economic uncertainty. Speaking at the launch of the report, DG Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said it is important not to underestimate the risks generated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the war in Ukraine.




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