TRADE: Comesa mulls e-Certificate of origin (eCO)
AFRICA BUSINESS COMMUNITIES – The development of an e-certificate of Origin (eCO) to eventually replace the hard copy version is on course. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, COMESA Secretariat has now requested Member States willing to participate in the piloting of the eCO to formally write to the Secretary General Mr Sindiso Ngwenya within one month expressing their interest.
This will encourage formulation of a concrete implementation plan before the next meeting of the COMESA Intergovernmental Committee for action.
COMESA Virtual Trade Facilitation Ssystem (CVTFS) e-Initiatives Coordinator Mr Fred Besa revealed this during a presentation on the Status of development of the e-Certificate of Origin.
The eCO is a web-based system accessible using web browsers. However, using control protocols, some information or functions can only be accessed by registered and system-known users.
The system is developed based on an architecture which includes Exporter Registration Process, Application and Issuance of eCO, Importing Country Verification Process of eCO, Searching and Trace of eCO, Printing of eCO, Reporting and Statistics Function, Website Home for Information Dissemination and Digital FTA eCO Guidelines.
Companies located in a Member State wishing to export to other Member States under the COMESA preference regime should be registered with the relevant designated issuing authority in the exporting Member State using the eCO system.
A Certificate of Origin in electronic format may be applied for, issued, and accepted in lieu of one in paper format, with equivalent legal effect.
This function will handle several primary functions among them to enable the submission of Monthly/Quarterly reports by the various stakeholders as per the eCO system requirements and facilitate the generation of appropriate eCO Management reports from the eCO database by stakeholders.