Palestinian customs modernization programme (ongoing)
This project involves the introduction of UNCTAD´s Automated System for Customs Data Analysis (ASYCUDA) in the occupied Palestinian territory to serve as the backbone of Palestinian customs modernization. Project implementation commenced in July 2001 within the context of a three-phase plan, with funding from the World Bank and the European Commission.
The first two phases were successfully completed and the European Commission is currently funding phase III, which commenced in September 2007.
The third phase, which involves a three-year implementation plan, seeks to ensure complete rollout of the ASYCUDA system to all customs offices. This phase will also see the introduction of tailor-made components for risk management and selectivity, along with ASYCUDA-World that will allow Palestinian Customs to join the world of e-customs.
Achievements to date:
  • The installation of the ASYCUDA prototype at the customs headquarters in Ramallah and Gaza and at the customs regional offices of Bethlehem, Jericho and at Rafah Crossing with Egypt.
  • The installation of ASYCUDA prototype at the Rafah crossing point with Egypt has enabled Palestinian Customs to assume its tasks from day one of the Israeli unilateral disengagement from Gaza in August 2005. The ASYCUDA national team is ready to resume sovereign customs functions the moment the Israeli seige over Gaza is lifted.
  • Strengthened customs institutional capacity at all levels: ASYCUDA is managed by a core national team of functional and technical experts, supported by staff from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Finance.
  • Accurate and up-to-date information for policy-makers:
    1. Import declarations, obtained from Israel, are entered into the ASYCUDA database on a regular basis.
    2. Customs Tariff structure, previously unavailable to the Palestinian Authority, has been codified and entered into the system.
  • Real-time connectivity with the Palestinian trade community.
  • Concrete proposals for simplifying customs procedures and adapting the regulatory framework to an automated environment, procedures for establishing a trade corridor between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, a risk management system for facilitating trade and enhancing security at the Al-Muntar/Karni crossing and online reporting on customs clearance activities at Rafah border.
  • Reduced fiscal leakages due to smuggling and fraud.
Today, ASYCUDA stands as an indispensable reform and capacity-building tool.
On 1 November 2007, the project was relaunched under the Arabic name Tawasol to reflect national ownership and emphasize the system´s automated linkages. Moreover, the ASYCUDA national team is actively responding to official requests for assistance related to the Palestinian Authority´s preparation for full customs control at main borders, and in enforcing new customs rules and instructions.

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