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24.01.2006 Business & Finance

CEPS launch WCO Standards


Accra, Jan. 24, GNA - The Ghana Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) would join customs administrations worldwide to celebrate the annual International Customs Day on January 26.

The Day would also be used to launch the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Framework of Standards. This year's celebration is under the theme: "The WCO Framework of Standards: The Role of the Private Sector."

A statement issued by CEPS in Accra on Tuesday said the WCO, made up of 169 members, had adopted a new and comprehensive standards aimed at boosting security, making international trade easier and fighting customs fraud and terrorism.

It said the WCO and its members, who control 99 per cent of international trade, were optimistic that the implementation of the framework would revolutionise the international tracking of goods. The statement said more than 100 members including Ghana had pledged to implement the non-binding standards, considered by experts as a major breakthrough and a key step in the fight against terrorism and customs fraud.

To boost security, the standards require shippers to supply Customs authorities in the destination country with details of cargoes, a full 24 hours before they are loaded at foreign ports. The standards also include information sharing, inspection of high cargo using non-intrusive equipment and risk management to ensure that cargoes are properly checked before shipping.

The statement said private sector companies that would commit themselves to implement the standards would be certified by Customs and would get preferred customs handling of their cargo both at the exporting and destination countries.

It said the implementation of the framework would revolutionise security and lead to efficient movement of goods, streamline and standardise customs procedures around the world, making cross-border trade easier.

It would also modernize Customs operations, as officers would have to use new technologies. Implementation of the standard is expected to lead to a safer, faster and more predictable trade environment. It called on freight forwarders, shipping companies, port operators, Free Zone Companies, manufacturers, importers, exporters, warehouse and courier operators to attend the event.