WCO PICARD Conference held in Puebla, Mexico

23 September 2014

The World Customs Organization's (WCO) 9th Picard Conference took place in Puebla, Mexico from 17 to 19 September 2014. The Conference, hosted by the Tecnológico de Monterrey at Puebla in coordination with the Customs General Administration of Mexico, had some 180 registrants from over 35 countries representing WCO Members, academia, international organizations, the private sector and other interested parties.

In his opening remarks the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, expressed his appreciation to the Tecnológico de Monterrey at Puebla and to the Customs General Administration of Mexico for their outstanding efforts in organizing and hosting the Conference. He looked forward to the input by practitioners and academics and to the exchange of ideas and experience which would be taken into account in the WCO’s policy discussions. In this context, he encouraged participants to invest in even more research in support of Customs’ decision-making processes.

Secretary General Mikuriya also noted that as 2014 was the Year of Communication within the global Customs community, it was important to disseminate research conducted into Customs matters. "Communication is a two-way process," said Dr. Mikuriya, "by which information and knowledge are exchanged and shared between individuals – it is not only about sending a message or passing on knowledge, it is also about exploring, discovering and testing research."

Mr. Alejandro Chacon, Customs General Administrator of Mexico, said that the Conference was vital for the relationship between the academic community of Mexico, the private sector and Customs since PICARD was a platform bringing together academic research and Customs operations, leading to innovative proposals fostering cooperation.

A high-level panel session on trade facilitation was convened with Secretary General Mikuriya, a representative of Mexico’s Undersecretary of Foreign Trade, and other leaders from academia and the private sector. Dr. Mikuriya noted that with its global standard-setting activities enhancing Customs’ ability to cooperate with other border agencies, international organizations and the private sector, the WCO was in a good position to effectively contribute to trade facilitation reforms.

Research papers presented at the Picard Conference focused on three themes: trade facilitation; e-commerce; and Customs’ role in securing supply chains and preventing illegal trade.

A Youth Forum immediately after the Conference brought together students from various universities to discuss topics raised during the Conference as well as future career possibilities in Customs and in the international arena.

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