Second Meeting of APEC’s SCCP marks important advances in Customs cooperation

22 agosto 2018

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures held its Second Meeting (SCCP2) from 10 to 12 August 2018 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG).  Delegates from 15 APEC member economies attended the meeting.  The SCCP APEC Program Director, the Chief Commissioner of PNG Customs Service, Mr. Ray Paul, and representatives from the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU), the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) Singapore, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) actively participated in the meeting.

The meeting was chaired by the Commissioner for Trade and Corporate Services of PNG Customs Service, Mr. James Kombuk Bire.  The Chief Commissioner of PNG Customs Service,
Mr. Paul, opened the plenary session and highlighted the importance of human resource development to improve border management and revenue collection.  He acknowledged the inclusion of Customs to Customs Collaboration (C2C) in the meeting agenda.

A wide range of key WCO topics were discussed by APEC members and many valuable inputs were provided.  These included the implementation of different articles of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA), Single Window (SW), Authorized Economic Operator/Trusted Trader Programmes, Advance Passenger Risk Analysis, Cross-Border E-commerce, Intellectual Property Rights, and Customs to Customs Cooperation.  A wide range of intersessional activities have been carried out under the project framework, such as conducting surveys and analysing the outcomes, developing frameworks and proposing collective action plans.  Highlights include initiatives on the Supply Chain Connectivity Framework and the Boracay Action Agenda to globalize Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) for 2018.

All 21 APEC member economies have notified their acceptance of the WTO TFA and have agreed to continue implementing this Agreement in coordination with APEC’s CTI.  They also agreed to promote effective cooperation among relevant stakeholders from the public and private sector to ensure implementation of the WTO TFA through different means, including working with the WCO on capacity building and technical assistance activities.  Customs administrations from APEC members are giving the green light to a digital revolution, with the focus on aligning APEC members’ SW systems to facilitate the movement of goods across borders and reduce costly shipping delays.  A new study on APEC SW interoperability carried out by the PSU was also presented at SCCP2.

While acknowledging the active involvement by and innovations of APEC Customs administrations and noting the best practices presented by several delegates, the WCO representative gave updated information on the activities of the WCO Working Group on the TFA.  She highlighted the tremendous amount of work delivered within the WCO’s Mercator Programme, as well as the introduction of the WCO Framework of Standards (FoS) on Cross-Border E-Commerce.  The WCO encourages APEC members to continue implementing several new/updated WCO tools and instruments, to support the activities of the Working Group on the comprehensive review of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and to develop technical specifications for the FoS on Cross-Border E-Commerce.

During the period from 9 to 14 August, the WCO representative also attended several side events, moderated a session on 2018 APEC Customs - Business Dialogue (ACBD) with the theme “A secure business environment for economic development”, gave a presentation in the “Trade Policy Dialogue on the TFA, Category B and C commitments” and participated in the 8th Meeting of the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity.

The WCO representative expressed appreciation for the partnership and continued collaboration with APEC members and extended the WCO’s best wishes for APEC 2019 (Chile), under the theme “Inclusive, comprehensive and sustainable growth with people at the center”.