On 2 and 3 March 2017 the 12th global meeting of Regional Offices for Capacity Building (ROCB), Heads of Regional Training Centres (RTC) and Vice-Chair offices took place at the WCO’s Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium.
The meeting recognized the important role WCO’s regional structures and Vice-chairs have in promoting and supporting the WCO strategic plan, in particular by contributing to the planning and implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) by means of the Mercator programme. The meeting also assessed the approaches of the Regions taken with regard to regional strategic plans and regional donor conferences and their results. It was found that four of the six Regions have both regional strategic plans and experience in organizing regional donor conferences. The presentations made by the ROCBs of the Americas and Caribbean, the Asia-Pacific, the Eastern and Southern Africa and the West and Central Africa regions demonstrated the usefulness of these tools and enabled the meeting to identify potentials for further improvements.
The meeting decided to maintain the Best Practices Guidance for ROCBs and RTCs on an annual basis, develop best practice guidance also for Vice-Chairs and adopt an organizational framework to deal with guidance issues of common interest.
Participants benefitted from presentations from the WCO Compliance and Facilitation Directorate, the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate and from the Research Unit. This will enable them to promote relevant initiatives and contribute to their implementation.
Informal meetings held by the regions enabled the participants to exchange on regional priority issues.
Finally, the meeting was informed about the latest developments with regards to the WCO’s CLiKC! platform and the Virtual Customs Orientation Academy (VCOA). CLiKC! has now more than 23000 users worldwide, new features, and new or updated e-learning modules (i.e. Customs Control, TIR, Single Window, Rules of Origin and TFA).
The next meeting will be held in the first quarter of 2018.