WCO organized an AMS Regional Workshop on Mercator Programme in Panama

14 December 2016

Based on its Strategic plan for assisting the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the WCO, with support of the AMS Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB), the AMS Vice-Chair, and Panama Customs and financially supported by CCF Korea, organized a Regional Workshop for the Americas and the Caribbean Region on the Strategic Initiatives related to Trade Facilitation and the Implementation of the WTO TFA in Panama City, Panama from 5 to 7 December 2016.

This Workshop was the follow-up for a similar event sponsored in 2015 in the region and was attended by over 60 participants from 27 Customs administrations from the region, government agencies, international and regional organizations and the Private Sector.

Mr. José Gomez Núñez, Director General of Panama Customs on behalf of the hosting country Panama, delivered an opening speech by appraising CCF Korea, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the WCO for organizing the Workshop which was just in time for the WTO Members’ ratifications for entry into force of the TFA.

The representative from WTO presented the latest development of TFA notification, ratifications and the establishment of the National Committees on Trade Facilitation, as well as the Mechanism for the TFA; the WCO representative introduced WCO’s activities of technical assistance and capacity building under the Mercator Programme in assisting Members with the implementation of the TFA by using WCO instruments and tools.

The Workshop provided a good opportunity for the participants to discuss the issues of establishing NCTF, applying Advance Rulings in Customs, Coordinated Border Management, Customs Brokers, AEO Programmes development in the region, Time Release Study etc. Participants also shared their national experiences and lessons learned in implementing the trade facilitation measures.

Participants emphasized the importance of coordination amongst themselves and AMS Vice-Chair also briefed the Workshop of the progress made in the Region regarding the development of a Regional Strategic Plan. The Vice-Chair's Office informed the participants that they will issue a communication to the Directors General of the Region in order to encourage participation in the establishment and maintenance of the NCTF. With respect to the next steps in the region, participants agreed that it is needed to validate and notify Categories B and C of the TFA, to promote accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention as soon as possible in order to take advantage of the existing synergy with the TFA and to inform of the result of the workshop in the next regional donor´s meeting and the next Meeting of Customs Directors General to be carried out in Cuba next year.