WCO officials conduct workshop on WCO tools at US CBP in Washington, DC (09/09/2013)

10 September 2013

On August 27-29, WCO representatives conducted a workshop on WCO instruments and tools at US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Headquarters in Washington, DC. In particular, participants discussed the importance of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade and efforts to promote the establishment of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programmes.

Eleanor Thornton, the WCO’s regional development manager for the Americas and WCO technical officer Asha Menon led the discussions. The WCO officials also shared information on the WCO’s Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP) and the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) which are vital for simplifying and harmonizing Customs procedures.

They were joined by Sandra Corcuera-Santamaria of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) who provided information on the AEO Regional Strategy for the Americas and the Caribbean.

The WCO SAFE Framework is a unique international instrument which has ushered in a safer world trade regime and heralded a new approach to the end-to-end management of goods moving across borders while recognizing the significance of a closer partnership between Customs and business. SAFE Framework AEOs are businesses that have been validated by Customs authorities to engage in a self-assessment process measured against predetermined security standards and best practices to ensure that their internal policies and procedures provide adequate safeguards against compromise of their supply chains until cargo is released from Customs control at destination.

The Director for C-TPAT (the US CBP AEO Programme), Lauren Kaufer, appreciated the opportunity to discuss WCO programmes and policies, and highlighted the importance of AEO programs by saying that "through these partnerships, Customs administrations are able to facilitate the flow of legitimate trade while focusing resources on high-risk shipments."

The WCO experts expressed their appreciation to CBP for the opportunity to share experiences and looked forward to continuing the dialogue.