Conference of Directors General of Customs of the Americas Caribbean Region

19 April 2018

At the invitation of Mr. Francisco Gil Leyva, Director General of Mexican Customs, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya attended the XXIst Regional Conference of Customs Directors General for the Americas/Caribbean Region, held in Los Cabos, Mexico, on 16 and 17 April 2018.  The meeting was chaired by Mr. Fabian Villarroel Rios of Chilean Customs, Chile being the current Vice-Chair for the Americas/Caribbean Region.

Secretary General Mikuriya presented the WCO’s prevailing key priorities:

  • trade facilitation which has taken central stage following the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, with the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and the Mercator Programme constituting key tools for implementing the Agreement;
  • e-commerce, with the principles set out in the Resolution adopted at the WCO’s December 2017 Policy Commission session in Luxor now being further developed into a framework of standards;
  • security and the role of Customs in combating terrorism and its financing;
  • Customs-Tax cooperation;
  • illicit financial flows, with the WCO being mandated by the G20 to contribute to its work on this issue;
  • and performance measurement and the progress being made in this area, particularly in relation to the World Bank’s "Doing Business" report.  Contact has been established with the Bank to ensure that input from Customs is taken into account when preparing the report.

The Secretary General also referred to two possible future priority areas, namely the review and updating of the RKC and the review of the structure of the Harmonized System.

Delegates held detailed discussions on the Regional Strategic Plan and its Strategic Objectives, focusing on implementation of coordinated border management, promotion of compliance with Customs regulations through the implementation of programmes aligned with international standards, and capacity building for Customs officers to ensure an efficient, high-quality service.

In addition, presentations were given on Passenger Name Record information exchange, digital Customs clearance, the combating of corruption in Customs, and progress with the establishment of a Mexico-based Regional Customs Laboratory.  A number of bilateral agreements were also signed between Members of the Region, particularly in the area of mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operator programmes.

The Dominican Republic was selected as the next Vice-Chair of the Region, with effect from after the June 2018 Council sessions.

The participants expressed their appreciation to the Director General of Mexican Customs and the Mexican Administration for the warm welcome extended to them and for the excellent organization of the Conference.