WCO Regional Workshop on the Mercator Programme

16 March 2015

The WCO, in cooperation with the Directorate General of Customs and Excise of Indonesia, held a WCO Asia/Pacific Regional Workshop on Strategic Initiatives for Trade Facilitation from 16 to 18 March 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

More than 90 participants from Customs administrations and various government agencies of the Asia/Pacific region, as well as representatives from private sector associations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international organizations participated in this Workshop.

This Regional Workshop is the first one of its kind and is part of the WCO’s regional awareness initiatives to be held in 2015, the first part of the Mercator Programme, which will be followed by more focused tailor-made capacity building activities and technical assistance to Members in need as the second part of the Programme. This Workshop is intended to facilitate the exchange of strategic views, experiences and expectations of Members in the Asia/Pacific region on ways forward towards consistent, effective and efficient implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

In his keynote address, WCO Secretary General Mikuriya stressed that the conclusion of the TFA is a golden opportunity to ensure political support for improving border procedures and facilitating dialogues between Customs administrations and other government agencies. He also made reference to the main WCO tools for trade facilitation such as the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), WCO TFA Implementation Guidance as well as Time Release Study, and emphasized the importance of the coordination and collaboration among all relevant government agencies and business actors as a key factor for economic growth.

Mr. Agung Kuswandono, Director General of Indonesia Customs, welcomed all participants and the setting up of WCO Mercator Programme. He touched upon Indonesian Customs’ initiatives to modernize border procedures including the recent accession to the RKC and launch of the AEO Programme. Among the other guest speakers, Mr. Hideharu Tanaka from Japan Customs, Mr. James Patrick Lynch from the Asian Development Bank and Dr. Faustin Luanga from the WTO made keynote speeches. They also mentioned that this Workshop was very timely and would provide participants from various government agencies with great opportunities to enhance their cooperation to better implement trade facilitation measures.

The Workshop will continue up to 18 March 2015 and discuss capacity building activities for trade facilitation and ways forward to deliver tailor-made technical assistance in the Asia/Pacific region through the Mercator Programme. Participants will also exchange their views on Coordinated Border Management, including leading roles of Customs administrations within National Trade Facilitation Committees.