WCO and IPPC agree on a Joint Work Plan for Cooperation

19 March 2019

At the invitation of the Secretary to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Mr. Jingyuan Xia, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited the IPPC Secretariat hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy on 18 March 2019.  Both parties agreed on a Joint Work Plan for Cooperation (2019-2022) between the two Organizations, following on from the Agreement signed on 19 June 2018.

The Joint Work Plan consolidates the major activities for bilateral cooperation and explores further areas of joint work between the two Secretariats for the coming three years.  This period coincides with the WCO Strategic Plan and also covers the International Year of Plant Health in 2020, approved through a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 December 2018 and for which the FAO, together with the IPPC Secretariat, will serve as the lead agency. 

Although it is non-binding in nature, the Plan mentions seven areas of cooperation: (i) joint events, especially in the area of trade facilitation; (ii) communication and advocacy; (iii) cross-border e-commerce; (iv) electronic data exchange (e-Phyto); (v) sea containers; (vi) Single Window; and (vii) Time Release Study.  These correspond to the priority areas of both Organizations, and they undertake to review the implementation progress of the Plan and prepare a revised Plan, as appropriate.

Secretary General Mikuriya stated that “the Joint Work Plan will further enhance Coordinated Border Management in key areas of interest both for Customs and Phytosanitary agencies, including sea containers and cross-border e-commerce.  Cooperation between the two Organizations will contribute to trade facilitation while protecting the health and safety of citizens through the use of common standards and tools for Data Exchange and Performance Measurement”.

IPPC Secretary Xia fully agrees with the WCO Secretary General’s statement above and emphasized that this Work Plan provides a good opportunity for the two Organizations to cooperate and help facilitate the implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.  He also encourages the IPPC Community to cooperate with national Customs Administrations to help promote safe trade.