Secretary General of SIECA visits WCO

12 November 2013

The Ambassador of Panama to Belgium, Her Excellency Ms. Elena Barletta, and the Secretary General of the Secretariat for the Central American Economic Integration (SIECA), Ms. Carmen Gisela Vergara, met with WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya and Deputy Secretary General Sergio Mujica on 8 November 2013 to discuss the key role of Customs in a regional integration system.

SIECA is a technical and administrative body that supports, promotes and coordinates activities towards regional economic integration and implementation of the decisions of the Central American Integration System (SICA), composed of Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.  

A wide range of topics was discussed in the course of the meeting, including trade facilitation, the Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP), strengthening of institutions, integrity, stakeholder engagement, Single Window (SW), Coordinated Border Management (CBM), and the aligning of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programmes with a view to achieving intraregional Mutual Recognition Arrangements.

Secretary General Mikuriya said that the WCO would be following the development of the Central American Single Document (DUCA) with great interest, highlighting the key role played by Customs in this process, especially in the implementation phase. He also emphasized the importance of the Revised Kyoto Convention, the Harmonized System Convention and the WCO Data Model in the context of regional integration processes.

The Ambassador of Panama and the SIECA Secretary General expressed their appreciation for the assistance that the WCO is providing to SIECA Members, thus supporting the economic integration process in Central America. They also reaffirmed their interest in strengthening cooperation with the WCO based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two Organizations in 2010.