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Abu Dhabi Customs launches campaign

‘Economic Operator Programme’

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Abu Dhabi–The General Administration of Abu Dhabi Customs, in cooperation with the Federal Customs Authority and the Department of Economic Development, ADDED, has launched a campaign to expand the scope of its Economic Operator Programme and increase the number of companies benefitting from the programme’s customs advantages, including reduced clearance time and pre-completion procedures that lead to lower financial costs.

The launch of the campaign with the participation of strategic partners follows the success of the Economic Operator Programme nationwide, and as part of ongoing integration and cooperation between government agencies in Abu Dhabi to enhance economic growth and streamline the growth of Abu Dhabi’s supply chain in line with the highest international standards.

The Economic Operator Programme aims to facilitate trade and simplify customs procedures for companies that adhere to customs and security compliance standards in the supply chain in line with international trade “SAIF” standards issued by the World Customs Organisation.

The Economic Operator Programme, since its launch, has effectively contributed to enhancing the flow of foreign trade and reducing time and cost for programme member companies by opening new bridges and ways for trade through mutual recognition agreements and international strategic partnerships between Abu Dhabi and cities around the world.

For his part, Rashid Lahej Al Mansoori, Director General of the General Administration of Abu Dhabi Customs, said that the vision and guidance of the leadership for a prosperous future has enabled Abu Dhabi Customs to play a pivotal role in making the Emirate of Abu Dhabi a global centre for trade and logistics.

Al Mansoori added that Abu Dhabi Customs is leading this ambitious initiative to expand the scope of the Economic Operator Programme in line with the economic development objectives of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi by providing the necessary facilities and simplifying customs procedures for all economic sectors in accordance with international best practice in a way that strengthens Abu Dhabi’s position on the competitiveness index as a global trade and investment hub.

He added that the Economic Operator Programme also aims to enhance customs and security compliance by identifying reliable and safe operators and promoting best practice at all levels in the international supply chain.

Ahmed Abdullah bin Lahej Al Falasi, Director-General of the Federal Customs Authority, said that the Economic Operator Programme is based on the principles of the UAE Vision 2021 and the UAE Centennial 2071, and aims to enhance the UAE’s position on the global trade map by establishing a culture of compliance and voluntary commitment in the private sector and companies in the supply chain by providing an integrated and diverse system of administrative and financial incentives. This includes the expedited completion of customs clearance procedures, prioritised inspections, and immediate release, in addition to the flexibility of the inspection location, and the appointment of liaison officers from customs employees to deal with issues related to the clearance of goods for authorised economic operators, and others.

He said that the number of companies included within the Economic Operator Programme in the UAE is currently 81 companies, and that mutual recognition agreements with other countries, including South Korea, Saudi Arabia and China so far cover about 29.8% of the total non-oil trade of the state. Currently, work is underway to sign agreements with India and Indonesia.

Ahmed Abdullah bin Lahej stated that the authority, in cooperation with the local customs departments, aims to implement a promotional and marketing plan to expand the scope of the Economic Operator Programme in the UAE and urge companies in the supply chain and shipping agencies to take advantage of the benefits and incentives offered to participating companies – whether in the UAE or in countries with whom mutual recognition agreements for the programme have been signed.

He praised the efforts made by the General Administration of Customs in Abu Dhabi in implementing the Economic Operator Programme by increasing the number of participating companies and their commitment to provide support and incentives to encourage them to voluntarily comply with the customs regulations and laws in force in the country.

For his part, Rashid Abdul Karim Al Balushi, Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development affirmed the department’s keenness to support commercial and industrial companies working in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and to enhance their role in increasing their contribution to the emirate’s GDP by providing a package of stimulating and supportive initiatives to enhance their competitiveness regionally and internationally. The Economic Operator Programme is one of the most important specialised national programmes that provide a major system of export and logistical services.

He said that the department is currently working on the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Export Gate project, which provides an important database for exporters and aims to open more global markets for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in addition to joint cooperation with the relevant authorities. The most important of these is the Abu Dhabi Customs Department’s “Maqta Gateway” project, which aims to facilitate land, sea and air trade, providing services in industrial and free zones, and enhancing the experience of dealers and stakeholders within the trade and logistical services system.

The Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development stated that Abu Dhabi’s local economy depends greatly on enhancing the emirate’s exports and making it a regional and international centre by providing the capabilities and the integrated and distinguished infrastructure for logistical services. This is one of the most important strategic objectives of Abu Dhabi government in order to achieve sustainable economic development and keep pace with the UAE’s 50-year plan.

The Economic Operator Programme targets entities associated with the international supply chain registered in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi that fall under sectors including importers, exporters, freight and transport agencies, manufacturers, customs brokers, storage companies, distributors, courier companies, logistics companies, transport companies, ports and airports.

The General Administration of Abu Dhabi Customs is implementing the Economic Operator Programme by adopting an innovative approach in coordination with the Federal Customs Authority, government agencies and partners within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to ensure the best results for companies operating in the emirate.

The programme provides many procedural, security, control and administrative advantages for supply chain partners, including the ability to complete clearance procedures before the actual shipment arrives in the country and inclusion on lists of mutual recognition agreements applied in many member states of the World Customs Organisation, as well as the granting of preferential tariff treatment.

The Economic Operator Programme was officially launched in the UAE in October 2016. A national committee was formed to undertake the implementation and supervision of the programme, headed by the Federal Customs Authority and with the membership of local customs departments in order to implement and supervise the programme, and to consolidate its policies at federal and local levels.-WAM

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