Enhanced dialogue and cooperation with the ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation

16 septiembre 2020

At the invitation of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, spoke at the high-level opening session of the ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation (ICC Commission) on 15 September 2020 to underline the importance of Customs-Business Partnership.

The Chairperson of the ICC Commission, Mr. Norm Schenk, opened this first fully virtual session aimed at strengthening cooperation between Customs and Business and promoting trade facilitation. In his opening remarks, Secretary General Mikuriya emphasized the strong cooperation that existed between the WCO and ICC not only at leadership level, but also through the ICC’s participation in and valuable input to WCO meetings.  He gave some tangible examples of coordination between the two Organizations, including the joint letter issued by the Secretaries General of the ICC and WCO on 20 March 2020 promoting greater ATA Carnet facilities, as well as the Organizations’ respective publications supporting Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic to mark MSME Day on 27 June.  Likewise, the ICC contributed to regular consultations with the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG) that helped the WCO identify bottlenecks in trade processes and jointly explored potential solutions involving other international organizations.  Dr. Mikuriya added that the ICC’s continued support was anticipated for the further development of the WCO guidelines for business continuity planning during the COVID-19 pandemic and in other similar situations.

Secretary General Mikuriya also provided an insight into the ongoing work on the WCO E-Commerce Package and welcomed the ICC Commission Chairperson’s contribution by co-chairing the WCO Working Group on E-Commerce. Additionally, the ICC’s continuing commitment to the implementation of and future maintenance mechanism for the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce was highlighted.  Dr. Mikuriya concluded by stressing the enduring cooperation between the two Organizations with a view to moving towards more resilient supply chains, demonstrating the convergence between the ICC’s interest in “digitization and the circular economy” and the WCO’s theme for this year: “Customs Fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet”.

The opening session also featured remarks by the Secretary General of the International Transport Forum, Mr. Young Tae Kim, who advocated close cooperation between the ICC Commission and the transport sector.  The Secretary General of the ICC, Mr. John Denton, expressed special thanks to the WCO for undertaking high-quality activities and for its collaborative work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition, he raised the prospect of further cooperation to achieve common goals.

This ICC Commission session is expected to spend three days focusing on restoring confidence in trade through close cooperation with the Customs and transport sectors.  It brings together over 100 business representatives and key WCO Secretariat staff.