Taxation and Customs Union


Commission commits €5 million to support African customs authorities in implementing global rules and facilitating trade.

The European Commission today committed €5 million for a new capacity building project to support African countries in implementing and applying global rules around customs and trade facilitation, following an agreement signed today with the World Customs Organisation (WCO).

The project, which will be implemented by the WCO, is centred on supporting African countries to apply the updated 'Harmonised System' or HS. This system is the lynchpin of global customs rules, allowing authorities to recognise and categorise goods as they enter and leave customs territories.

More broadly, the system helps countries to coordinate and harmonise their customs rules, while reducing costs related to international trade. The new funding should contribute to African countries, Regional Economic Communities and the African Union Commission using the latest version of the HS in a timely and coordinated manner across the continent, thereby allowing trade to flow more easily and more quickly.

The project is linked to President Juncker’s Africa agenda as announced on 12 September 2018 in his State of the Union speech and contributes to the EU’s External Investment Plan and the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.

It also contributes to the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as formally launched by the Assembly of the African Union at its tenth extraordinary session held on 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, as well as to the common commitments made at the 5thAfrican Union - European Union Summit in November 2017 in Abidjan.