Two Regional Workshops on the Harmonized System (HS) 2022 amendments, attended by 54 officials from 20 countries*, were held virtually for the Customs Administrations of the Americas and the Caribbean Region, under the sponsorship of the Dominican Republic Customs, from 15 to 17 November 2021. The Workshops, held separately for English- and Spanish-speaking countries, were organized by the WCO Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate in collaboration with the Regional Training Centre «Juan Bosh» of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The opening of both Workshops were officiated by Mr. Gabino Jose Polanco, Technical Sub-Director of the Dominican Republic Customs, who emphasized the importance of the correct tariff classification of goods and encouraged the participants to take advantage of these high level Workshops.
The Director General of Jamaica Customs, Ms. Velma Ricketts-Walker, and the Director General of Peru Customs, Ms. Marilú Llerena, on behalf of Mr. Werner Ovalle, vice-chairperson of the Americas and the Caribbean Region, welcomed the participants of each Workshop, in English and Spanish, respectively, and pointed out that the Workshops were a great opportunity to have a better understanding of the HS 2022 amendments and to share the information internally in their home administrations as well as with the external stakeholders in their countries.
The Director of Tariff and Trade Affairs of the WCO, Mr. Konstantinos Kaiopoulos, noted that despite the coronavirus pandemic causing many challenges in the timely adoption of the HS 2022 edition and in the follow-up actions required for its implementation, the WCO, in great cooperation with all its Members, has found ways to move forward and succeeded to complete all necessary work. He highlighted that the Workshops held for the Americas and Caribbean region should facilitate the implementation of the new HS edition at the national level and contribute to the fair and efficient collection of customs duties.
For the Workshop in Spanish, the WCO officers were joined by two co-facilitators who are WCO accredited experts on HS matters: Ms. Claudia Navarro, from Brazil Customs, and Mr. Guillermo Quiroz Flores, from Mexico Customs.
The Workshops’ main focus was to raise awareness of the amendments to the HS Nomenclature 2022 Edition and to ensure the uniform and consistent interpretation and application of the HS 2022 edition by Customs Administrations in the Americas and Caribbean Region. Furthermore, the Workshops offered an opportunity for a demonstration of the “WCO Trade Tools”, which is a new WCO database providing a single point of access to the information on the HS, Origin and Valuation, making it easy to compare HS 2017 and HS 2022.
Participating administrations were given the opportunity to report on their progress in relation to the HS 2022 amendments and to explain the challenges faced during the implementation of the new HS 2022 national tariff. The participants from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Dominican Republic made presentations on their current state of play regarding the implementation of the amendments at national level. In this, they shared experiences and highlighted common difficulties in raising awareness of the changes amongst government agencies and the private sector before the new Tariff enter into force. In the discussions, other administrations also shared their current situation regarding the HS 2022 and reported the foreseen dates for the implementation of the changes at national level.
The participants expressed their appreciation to the WCO for providing comprehensive explanations on the scope and background of the HS 2022 amendments.
In his closing address, Mr. Polanco thanked the WCO for the organization of the Workshops. He encouraged all participants to share the knowledge acquired during these Workshops and, again, emphasized the importance of the correct use and application of the HS.
* Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, United States, Uruguay.