WCO expands its pool of experts as a result of a refresher workshop at ROCB Europe in Baku

06 December 2016

The WCO held a regional Accredited Customs Experts (ACE)/Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) Refresher workshop in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 22 to 25 November 2016, at the Regional Office for Capacity Building Europe (ROCB Europe). The purpose of the workshop was to convert or pre-accredit qualified Customs Experts as Mercator Programme Advisors (MPAs).

The WCO is currently aiming to enhance its pool of Accredited Customs Experts. To that end, the Secretariat has organized a series of refresher events for a number of already accredited Diagnostic Facilitators (DF’s), Customs Modernization Advisors (CMA’s) and WCO Experts on the provisions of the TFA and the principal WCO tools and instruments.

The refresher event in Baku was designed to incorporate the aspects of the TFA, to enhance the advisory and facilitation skills of the WCO Member Experts and to identify Member Experts who could become MPAs.

MPAs are CMAs with the capacity to accompany, guide and mentor organizations towards implementing trade facilitation reforms and modernizing processes, including implementation of the WTO TFA. Accredited MPAs will be invited to carry out TF/TFA-related missions and related support under the WCO Mercator Programme. They will also be invited to support Members in establishing their National Committees on Trade Facilitation.

Nine (9) Customs officers from The Netherlands, Russian Federation, Norway and Azerbaijan participated in this workshop. They were refreshed as WCO accredited experts, or qualified as pre-accredited experts, and assessed against the required MPA profile through a series of testing exercises, presentations, role-plays, group activities and plenary discussions. Participants were also required to demonstrate their knowledge and strategic application of core WCO tools and instruments and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement along with their potential to facilitate discussion with senior Customs officials in a strategic context.

Four participants (4) were selected for conversion to MPAs and three (3) to become pre-accredited MPA’s and will be invited to participate in TFA implementation support missions under the Mercator Programme. The other participant(s) will continue to provide support to the WCO as accredited experts in their existing specific fields (CMA/ DF/ RKC) and potential participation at a future accreditation workshop.