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19 April 2018 – BRICS members to strengthen Customs co-operation

19 April 2018 – BRICS members to strengthen Customs co-operation

Durban, 19 April 2018 – Delegates from BRICS member countries (that is Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have agreed to strengthen co-operation and mutual assistance to facilitate trade between member countries and other developing countries.

The BRICS Customs administrations gathered in Durban for the 10th Annual BRICS Customs Experts Technical Working Group hosted by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) this week.

One of the main focus areas of the high-level meeting was the establishment of an enabling legal framework for BRICS Customs cooperation.

The BRICS countries have implemented various models of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programmes, which give preferential treatment to certain traders, importers and exporters.

While AEO programmes have demonstrated their effectiveness in strengthening supply chain management and economic competitiveness, the BRICS members are at different stages of development.

The meeting agreed that it would be more beneficial at this stage to share information and identify priorities with the aim of working towards bi-lateral agreements.

It was further agreed that certain areas of the Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement (CMAAA) should be improved before adaptation.

It is expected that clarification of the agreement would, apart from the traditional areas of information exchange and investigative assistance, include detailed provisions on cooperation in human resource development, data exchange and addressing of trade grievances.

The meeting emphasised the need to finalise the BRICS Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement (CMAAA) by 2021.  This would enable the seamless movement of goods among member countries and bring the reality of economic cooperation even closer.

The meeting also deliberated on the value of an integrated risk management system as a key area in terms of risk identification, not only for Customs but also for tax administration purposes. This will likely form part of the agenda in the upcoming BRICS Tax meetings in June this year, to be hosted by SARS in Johannesburg.

These annual gatherings have been beneficial for BRICS bloc which has seen enhanced collaboration over the last decade.

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