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WCO conducts a scoping mission on Customs Laboratories for the Tunisian Customs

From 7 to 10 May 2024, the Tunisian Customs (Direction Générale des Douanes (DGD)) hosted a national workshop on Customs laboratories, which was delivered within the framework of the EU-WCO Programme for the Harmonized System in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), funded by the European Union. The workshop was aimed at conducting a scoping mission for setting up a Customs Laboratory in the country. The implementation of a standard Customs Laboratory in Tunis would be the first step. The workshop was facilitated by two WCO recognised Customs chemists from the Belgian and the Spanish Customs Administrations.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Bellara Monji, General Controller at the Control Department, on behalf of the Customs Commissioner, confirmed the commitment of the DGD in implementing a modern Customs Laboratory as another step in the modernisation of his Administration. He stressed the importance of Customs Laboratories for the purposes of revenue collection, drug enforcement, protection of the society and the environment as well as trade facilitation.

Participants were informed of the structure and the functioning of the Customs Laboratory European Network (CLEN), a WCO Regional Customs Laboratory, and of the possibilities that the instruments developed by the CLEN might offer to the DGD. Discussions focused on the WCO Customs Laboratory Guide, sampling procedures, analysis of narcotics, security and safety issues, as well as laboratory information management systems (LIMS).

The workshop was also an opportunity for participants to deepen their knowledge of the relevant technical standards with regard to the infrastructure, instruments and staff of a Customs Laboratory. Following comprehensive discussions of various aspects of the project, an assessment was made as to the way forward and concrete action for establishing a Customs Laboratory network in Tunis.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Monji thanked the WCO and the European Union for the support and collaboration in this area of Customs work, and confirmed his Administration’s interest in implementing a Customs Laboratory in the country.

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