IORA Members determined to progress with the AEO and MRA agendas

18 September 2014

15-17 September 2014, Bengaluru, India

The 2nd Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Customs Trade Facilitation Forum was held from 15 to 17 September 2014 in Bengaluru, India. Senior Customs Officials from the following IORA member countries attended the Forum; Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Yemen.

The WCO was invited to share the latest developments in trade facilitation, including Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programmes and Mutual Recognition Agreements/Arrangements (MRAs).

The event was presided over by Ms. Mala Srivastava, Member (Customs), Indian Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and a number of high-level officials from CBEC and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

Members discussed innovative trade facilitation solutions and developments with a particular focus on AEO programmes and MRAs. Some of the common themes to emerge from the discussions include: the relevance of automation to facilitate trade; use of WCO standards, instruments and tools under the Economic Competitiveness Package, especially the Revised Kyoto Convention and the SAFE Framework of Standards; collaboration/cooperation amongst member Customs administrations, etc.

Members that have developed AEO programmes and engaged in MRAs shared experiences, including benefits and challenges faced, drawing out conclusions and suggestions to be put forward to the IORA Secretariat and to the WCO for consideration and ensuing remedial measures.

Delegates also discussed various measures that complement trade facilitation and are also important for ensuring and maintaining economic prosperity: post clearance audit/action/investigations; valuation verification; risk management systems and others.

The forum issued a Communiqué expressing its commitment to continuing a dialogue on trade facilitation and enforcement issues, including the use of tools to complement trade facilitation.