WCO Americas and Caribbean Region adopts AEO Regional Strategy

03 April 2013

At the invitation of Director General Enrique Canon of Uruguay in his capacity as Vice-Chair, Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya of the WCO attended the XVIth Regional Conference of Customs Directors General of the Americas and Caribbean Region, held in Panama City, Panama, on 1 April 2013. The participants adopted the Regional Strategy on Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) and took a number of other important decisions with a view to providing guidance and orientation for the WCO agenda.

With the assistance of a high-level panel including Directors General, the participants discussed the promotion of economic prosperity through strengthening the global trade partnership. The panel shared their experience and best practice in this respect. They identified the WCO Economic Competitiveness Package and the Revised Kyoto Convention as the key tools to achieving the objectives from a Customs point of view.

The participants then reviewed the progress made since the previous year's Regional Conference which had adopted the Uruguay Resolution on AEO and had established a regional working group to prepare a strategy in this respect. They now approved the Regional Strategy to implement and strengthen AEO programmes in the Americas and the Caribbean, with five strategic objectives including increasing the number of AEO programmes, strengthening partnerships with business and other government agencies, and the promotion of Mutual Recognition Agreement negotiations.

 

The Regional Strategy is accompanied by a comprehensive implementation action plan, a short-term plan for 2013-2014 and a result indicator matrix. The action plan will be further developed and reviewed at the next Regional Conference.

With regard to the WCO's Strategic Plan, the participants expressed their support for the new structure comprising four pillars and three fundamental supporting blocks, which clearly showed the way to achieve the WCO's Mission and Vision. They recognized the mutually supportive nature and the essential balance between the various elements of the Strategic Plan, all of which reflected the Organization's priorities.

Turning to other issues referred to the regions by the WCO Policy Commission in December 2012, Directors General cautioned against a radical review of the HS which went beyond the current six digits since that would have substantial cost implications for both Customs and business. While understanding the need to review the HS for control purposes, they supported the second option of promoting and exploring further expansion of the use of the HS.

 

The meeting was in favour of reviewing the composition of the Finance Committee. However, with regard to the nomination of alternates for the Policy Commission or Finance Committee, it preferred to emphasize that those administrations nominated to be part of limited-membership WCO bodies should honour their commitment to attend meetings of those bodies.

The Directors General selected Chile and re-selected Ecuador to represent the region on the Audit Committee. Argentina and Canada would join the United States on the Finance Committee for the coming year. Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Mexico would be members of the Policy Commission, together with the United States and Uruguay as Vice-Chair.

The next Regional Conference of Customs Directors General will be held in Peru in April 2014. Participants expressed their appreciation for the excellent organization of the Conference and for the hospitality shown by Panama Customs under the leadership of its Director General, Ms. Virna Luque.