A national WCO Revenue Package Workshop on the development of an advance ruling system for classification, funded by the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Finland, was held in Blantyre, Malawi, from 16 to 20 July 2018. The Workshop focused on the improvement of the current classification work model and the implementation of an advance ruling system for classification, as set out in the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation. Eighteen Customs officials worked intensively during the Workshop, which was co-facilitated by three experts (one expert from the WCO Secretariat, one external expert and a pre- accredited expert from Kenya Revenue Authority).
In his opening remarks, the Commissioner of Customs, Mr. Fatch Valeta, thanked the WCO and the donors, HMRC and the Finland, for the support received and re-affirmed the strong commitment of the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to the Malawi Mercator Implementation Plan 2017. The MRA is working towards the development of the legal framework for effective implementation of an Advance Ruling System, including amendments of the Customs Law, and has arrangements underway for its implementation of the HS 2017 version starting in September 2018.
During the Workshop, the experts gave presentations on advance rulings and the tools and instruments developed under the Revenue Package, while the participants presented on the current tariff classification infrastructure within MRA and potential paths towards advance rulings. This was followed by the practical application of the Diagnostic Tool on Tariff Classification, Valuation and Origin Work and Related Infrastructure to examine the situation in Malawi.
At the end of the Workshop, the participants presented an action plan with proposals and solutions for the modernization of classification work and the implementation of an advance ruling system for classification.
In his closing remarks, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Edwin Starch, also thanked the WCO, HMRC and Finland for the continued support and reiterated that MRA is committed to pursuing the action plan, in addition to the other WCO tools being implemented. The funding and technical assistance has allowed MRA to modernize, build capacity and promote trade facilitation.