Successful WCO Regional Workshop on the TFA and the Mercator Programme for the Americas/Caribbean Region

29 octubre 2015

The WCO Regional Workshop on Strategic Initiatives for Trade Facilitation and the Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) – Mercator Programme – for the WCO Americas/Caribbean (AMS & CB) Region was held from 20 to 22 October 2015 in Bogotá, Colombia. It was hosted by the Colombian Tax and Customs Administration Service Directorate (DIAN), and financially supported by the Korea Customs Service and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) via its Japan Special Fund. More than 100 participants from 27 AMS & CB Customs Administrations, Trade Ministries, International Organizations, development partners and the private sector participated in the event.

This Workshop was intended to facilitate the exchange of strategic views, experiences and expectations of Members in the AMS & CB Region on ways forward towards consistent, effective and efficient implementation of the WTO TFA.

The Workshop was opened by Mr. Daniel Arango Angel, Colombian Vice Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, and Mr. Santiago Rojas, Head of the Colombian Tax and Customs Administration Service Directorate. Those opening remarks were complemented by Ms. Heike Barczyk, WCO Deputy Director Compliance and Facilitation, Mr. Alejandro Gamboa-Alder, WTO, Mr. Taeil Kang, Korea Customs Service, and Ms. Sandra Corcuera, IDB. The Workshop benefitted from presentations by and interaction with those organizations, as from contributions by distinguished speakers from other International and (sub-)Regional Organizations. Several Members of the AMS & CB Region presented their practices and experiences regarding topics such as National Trade Facilitation Committees, Coordinated Border Management, Risk Management, Transit and Customs–Business Partnership, all of which could support national and/or regional TFA implementation.

The region agreed on next steps forward, including on a regional focus on the establishment and maintenance of NCTFs (for instance further provision of replies to the respective WCO survey; identification of the situation within AMS & CB Members; potential follow-up activities); report on the outcomes of the Workshop at the next regional Donor working meeting in Washington in January 2016; encourage AMS & CB Members who are not yet Contracting Parties to the Revised Kyoto Convention to accede to it as soon as possible and to take advantage of the existing synergies between these agreements; and emphasize the responsibility of the ROCB and the Vice Chair to continue collecting and publishing information on on-going Capacity Building projects.

The Workshop was successfully concluded with positive feedback from Members, partner organizations and development partners.