A new self-certification system called the Registered Exporter System (REX) will go live in Seychelles as of July 1 for goods originating from the island nation to the European Union countries.
According to the manager of classification, valuation and rules of origin in the Customs Division, Gerda Cesar, this is a system that will replace the EUR.1 which is currently being used.
“This means that all exporters who send their products to European countries such as Belgium and France and were using the EUR.1 certificate to benefit from the reduced taxations except for those sending products to the UK, will also use this as proof that their products originate from Seychelles,” explained Cesar.
She said that “how this will work is each time that an exporter will have a consignment to export to EU countries, they will use the REX number on the invoice as a statement of export.”
In order to be able to issue such declarations, exporters will have to directly register in the REX system, an online database developed by the EU. Upon registration, the classification, valuation and origin section of the Customs Division will assign a REX number to the applicant. The number has to be mentioned on the statement of origin.
Registration under REX is done by the exporter once and the REX number can be used for exports to all EU countries.
Cesar said the REX system will be of benefit to exporters.
“Currently, each time there is a consignment leaving Seychelles for an EU country, exporters have to provide the EUR.1 certificate and pay SCR100 [$7] for each consignment. With the REX system, the exporters will do their own self-certification, so the SCR100 will fade out and exporters will not need to go to the Customs Division for endorsement,” explained Cesar.
For the new REX system, the Customs Division of the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) has developed specific guidelines for the use of such a system that will soon be publicly available on its website.
Additionally, a seminar was organised in February at the Care House in Victoria to show local exporters how to register on the system.
Cesar also explained that SRC is in the process of providing exporters with their identifications so that they may begin using the system on July 1.
Gilberte Bristol, an officer in the classification, valuation and rules of origin in the Customs Division, told reporters that so far five exporters already have their identifications, while the remaining 10 will have theirs before REX goes live.
“We are now in communications with them to ensure that all their documents are in order,” she added.
Although local exporters will be doing their own self-certification, Customs will still be monitoring exportation to EU countries.
“There will be monitoring because when an exporter will register in the REX system, the person will need to fill in an information sheet which will need to include all the products being exported and the HS code, and from there we will be able to monitor all exportation,” said Cesar in a previous interview with SNA.
Customs approves all products for exportation after the division has conducted site visits to ensure that they meet the criteria as per the EU protocol.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, mainly exports tuna, canned tuna and cinnamon bark to EU countries.
The island nation, as well as Madagascar, Mauritius and Zimbabwe, signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU in 2009, which entered into force on a provisional basis in May 2012. In July 2017, the Comoros joined the EPA and started its provisional application in February 2019.
The agreement allows products originating from the four Indian Ocean islands and Zimbabwe to be imported into the EU duty free, quota free, provided they meet specific rules of origin that are set out in the agreement.
Bristol appealed to exporters to avail themselves of the various agreements that Seychelles is a party to if their products meet the criteria.