WCO Trade Facilitation Mission
South Africa was one of only a handful of countries that did not ratify the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which entered into force on 22 February 2017. Despite this, South Africa Revenue Service (Sars) requested the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to conduct a scoping mission, aimed at familiarising Sars with the operating model for the WCO Mercator Programme, to assess the current trade facilitation situation in Sars and to make recommendations for an implementation plan. The mission took place from 20-24 November.
This scoping mission was conducted under the WCO-ESA Project II “to progress the trade facilitation agenda under the framework of the Mercator Programme in East and Southern Africa Region 2016-2019 funded by the Finnish Government”. According to the WCO, its Mercator Programme was launched to ensure uniform implementation of the WTO TFA, using the WCO instruments and tools. The Mercator Programme provides tailor-made support that takes into account local conditions and environment for implementing trade facilitation measures
It is understood that the WCO mission team had opportunities to discuss, amongst other things, the alignment of Sars legislation with the international obligations of the TFA, brief the Sars chief officers on the mission objectives, and participate in briefings on the progress on the Regional Training Centre (RTC) as a Centre of Excellence on the WCO Organisational Development Package.