The 12th Meeting of the CPLP* Customs High Level Working Group, was held in Díli, Timor-Leste, from 25 to 28 April 2017 to discuss the implementation stage of the Technical Assistance and Cooperation Integrated Programme (PICAT). The Minister for Planning and Strategic Investment of Timor-Leste, Mr. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão welcomed the delegates to his country and emphasized the relevance of hosting the meeting considering several recent strategic economic and political achievements by Timor-Leste, such as the approval by the government of implementation and use of ASYCUDA, the adoption of the Arusha Declaration and the development of a Single Window project.
The CPLP Customs Administrations, represented by Angola, Brazil, Portugal, S. Tome and Principe and Timor-Leste, discussed the implementation of the 5th Edition of PICAT, established to enhance the supportive actions among members, which includes the work developed by specialized working groups on the Harmonized System, the Revised Kyoto Convention, and the virtual working groups on Domestic Tax, on Maritime and on Airways Procedures. Delegates also shared the latest technical and political developments at their Administrations.
The WCO praised the efforts of the CPLP Customs Secretariat and the work done by the RKC working group to translate and harmonize the Portuguese version of the Convention, and congratulated the accession to the RKC by Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Portugal, recognizing the complex process for the accession and implementation of the Convention. The WCO reminded delegates of its availability to provide the necessary support for both processes.
The meeting also discussed the strategic and strong cooperation between CPLP and the WCO, particularly by allocating a representative at the Secretariat, under the Career Development Programme, to promote the Portuguese language in the international arena. The current CPLP representative at the WCO from Angola appreciated the support by the CPLP, the WCO, the CCF Japan and the Angola Revenue Administration in the challenge of providing technical and administrative support to both organizations, while at the same time being given the opportunity to develop personal and professional qualities.
The latest initiatives from the WCO regarding Gender Equality were presented, among those the important Gender Equality Organizational Assessment tool (GEOAT) which has been developed to support the Customs Administrations in assessing their own policies, practices and activities to promote diversity and gender equality. The WCO Gender Equality survey developed by the Capacity Building Directorate is used to collect updates on current policies and practices implemented by the Members. A new module on Gender and Diversity in the WCO Leadership and Management Development Workshop was also presented. The CPLP Members were invited to include this topic on their Customs reform and modernization programme. Delegates were reminded that promoting Gender Equality and Diversity at the workplace has been shown to encourage innovation as well as improve individual and organizational performance.
*CPLP – Portuguese Speaking Countries Community