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The General Directorate of Customs in cooperation with the EU Delegation in Tirana launched the opening ceremony of the Twinning Project 2013 intending to prepare the Albanian Customs for implementation of the Integrated Tariff Management System (ITMS) and to become part of the EU's Common Customs Tariff which applies to the import and export of goods across the European Union's external borders. Through a common tariff, all EU member states apply the same tariffs and other integrated trade and agricultural measures for all goods declared at the border.
The EU-funded Twinning project in the amount of 1.8 million Euros will increase the capacity of the Albanian Customs Administration (ACA) over the next two years. The project will provide the EU expertise and knowledge (know-how) of Italy which is the EU Member State responsible for Twinning Management in order to assist the ACA to improve the legislation and tariff procedures in line with European Union standards.
The Albanian Customs Administration will be supported by the Italian Customs and Monopoly Agency. Twinning experts will provide specific assistance in drafting the necessary ITMS legislative, technical and administrative capacity acts. This includes drafting all legal provisions necessary to align the electronic data processing techniques with EU; description of IT business processes, information flows related to ITMS; increase customs efficiency and effectiveness, quality of service and management through training and reorganization of offices involved in implementing ITMS.
During the kick-off ceremony, the Head of Operations at the EU Delegation in Albania, Mr. Stephen Stork stressed the importance of the project to further harmonize Albanian Customs Legislation with EU Legislation. He added that this Twinning Project will improve administrative capacities of ACA regarding ITMS and will open the way for future IT development and communications projects.
At this ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Finances, Mr. Ervin Mete emphasized the importance of this Twinning Project as a step forward in preparing Albania for the market. This is a message to EU partners as the volumes of goods exchanged between Albania and the EU are growing rapidly and companies expect faster Customs procedures in order to carry out efficiently their activities.
The General Director of the Albanian Customs Administration, Mrs. Belinda Ikonomi, mentioned that the Customs Tariff remains one of the main responsibilities for the Customs Administration. Albanian Customs Administration intends to assess the fulfillment of conditions on interoperability and interconnectivity with the EU IT systems. The National Tariff system should be compatible with EU TARIC and it has to be operational before Albania's EU Accession. As a result of this, it is required the adoption of national legislation, enhanced administrative procedures and an improved IT system fully compliant with ITMS requirements. Also during her speech, Mrs. Ikonomi presented all the novelties that will introduce the new provisions of the Customs Code which enter into force on 1st of June 2017.
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