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24 April 2024

GCC officials discuss borders without customs

By Hamed Al Sewerky



Gulf officials met in Riyadh to discuss customs-related obstacles in the movement of goods within the GCC member countries.

The 18th meeting of the Harmonised System Code Committee of GCC countries, which will go on until Wednesday, started Sunday in Saudi Arabia.

The UAE delegation, headed by Tariq Abdullah Bourhima from the Customs Affairs Department at the Federal Customs Authority, includes the UAE customs officials.

Mohammed Khalifa bin Fahid Al Muhairi, Director-General of the Federal Customs Authority of the UAE, said that the meeting seeks to address all customs barriers in the GCC related to the Harmonised System Code.

The code of tariff nomenclature is an internationally standardised system of names and numbers for classifying traded products. The codes were developed and maintained by the World Customs Organisation, an independent inter-governmental organisation with more than 160 member countries based in Brussels, Belgium.

The code system uses a six-digit nomenclature to describe goods being exported and traded. Countries that have adopted the system are not permitted to alter the codes or descriptions, which is what keeps the Harmonised System harmonised, but they may extend the codes to eight or ten digits for customs and export purposes.

At present almost 200 countries in the world use the system.

The meeting in Riyadh aims to end all customs obstacles among the member- countries, which are related to customs tariff and the Harmonised System.

Al Muhairi said the meeting will discuss the classification of commodities that are prohibited and restricted in the GCC countries. Also on the agenda is the English names of fish that are included in the Third Act of the GCC Unified Customs Tariff list. These names are to be decided upon depending on suggestions by Kuwait and Oman. There will also be a translation of paragraphs on categories that are included in the International Trade Administration agreement and exempted from the GCC unified customs tariff at the beginning of 2007.

Al Muhairi said the Harmonised System Code Committee had made great efforts in their previous meetings to end obstacles related to customs tariff and had limited the restrictions to a select number of items. The committee had also made the translation of the GCC unified customs tariff into English, a priority.

He praised the participation of member-countries, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia, in the translation of guidelines on customs tariff.

In previous meetings, the committee had studied Oman’s commitments to the World Trade Organisation covering a number of commodities and asked for addition to the list of commodities exempted from the GCC unified tariff.