WCO accredited Customs Modernization Advisors and Mercator Programme Advisors

The WCO, in its effort to assist Members with Strategic Planning activities and WTO TFA implementation held two back to back accreditation workshops in Pretoria, South Africa. These events were held during the week of 1-5 February 2016 and 8-12 February 2016, were funded by the United Kingdom within the framework of the WCO-DFID ESA project and HMRC-WCO-UNCTAD project and organizationally supported by the South African Revenue Service.

24Customs officers from the WCO ESA and WCA regions participated in the workshops and were assessed against the Customs Modernization Advisors (CMAs) and Mercator Programme Advisors (MPAs) required profile through a series of testing exercises, presentations, role-plays, group activities and plenary discussions.

Participants were also required to demonstrate their knowledge and strategic application of core WCO tools and instruments and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement along with their potential to facilitate discussions with senior Customs and other officials in a strategic context.

At these two events 15 participants successfully completed step 1 of the accreditation process as they demonstrated their potential to become CMA’s/MPA’s during the range of workshop activities.

From the five WCO CMA/MPA accreditation events held to date a total of 41 participants have been assessed as being suitable to become CMAs and MPAs under step 1 of the accreditation process and will be invited to participate in TFA implementation support missions under the Mercator Programme in order to complete the accreditation process. It is expected that the successful candidates are made available by their Customs administrations for further support missions in the future. Source: WCO

SARS “Trusted Trader” programme under the spotlight

With the implementation of the SARS Customs Modernization Program, accreditation has been revisited and SARS has taken a more robust approach.

South Africa is currently focusing on accreditation for customs procedures only. The Self-assessment Questionnaire was reworked and sent to a number of large importers, inviting them to participate in the “Preferred Trader Pilot Program.” Now more customs accreditation initiatives are underway.

In terms of a future focus on mutual recognition, bilateral discussion between EU and South Africa has commenced. The parties recently agreed to launch a customs project, financed under the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) facility, covering the implementation of the WCO SAFE Framework in South Africa. South Africa intends to align its Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) strategy with that of the EU to ensure that standards for both compliance and security match those of the EU.

The EU is South Africa’s main trading partner. The TDCA is the legal basis for relations between the EU and South Africa and provides the framework for cooperation in the social, economic, political and cultural field. Please click here for the full report – refer to  pages 32 -33 for South African AEO article. Source: Ernst & Young