Virtual working meeting with WCO Vice-Chair for the Americas/Caribbean region

31 July 2020

On 21 July 2020, a virtual meeting was organized by Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, Deputy Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), with Mr. Werner Ovalle, Director General of Guatemala Customs and new Vice-Chair for the WCO Americas/Caribbean region.

Both agreed on the importance of the Work Plan contributing to the integration of the region and the fulfillment of its objectives and interests, thus strengthening the interactions of the Vice-Chair with the WCO, its Members, the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB), international organizations, and private sector stakeholders in the Americas/Caribbean region.

The regional Vice-Chair reiterated the commitment of his own Customs Administration to work in coordination with the WCO and with all Customs Administrations of the Americas/Caribbean region, in order to make the region digital, competitive and integrated.

The actions agreed at the meeting included: (i) monthly coordination and monitoring meetings; (ii) presentations of regional initiatives based on WCO instruments such as the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Programme, Time Release Study (TRS), Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), Single Window, Risk Management and Coordinated Border Management; (iii) support by the ROCB; (iv) promotion of participation by the Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG) in the activities carried out under the regional Vice-Chairmanship; (v) promotion of the WCO Mercator Programme, enabling countries in the region to benefit from technical support and follow-up on implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement; and (vi) promotion of WCO expert accreditation workshops in the region.

During the meeting, the importance of promoting the use of the Spanish language at the WCO was also highlighted as a regional priority. The role played by Customs in facilitating the international movement of goods and minimizing the general impact of the crisis on economies and societies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic was underlined, while the value of utilizing technology to continue working for the welfare and interests of the Americas/Caribbean region was reiterated.