WCO National Workshop on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement for Thailand

15 June 2016

Forty-two senior Customs officials from different units within Thai Customs attended a National Workshop on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) organized by the WCO and Thai Customs, with support from the Japanese Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF). The Workshop was held at the Thai Customs Academy Centre in Bangkok (Thailand) from 31 May to 3 June 2016.

The Deputy Director General of Thai Customs, Mr. Phaisarn Chuenjit, opened the Workshop and encouraged participants to give their full cooperation, stressing his belief that the WCO’s support through the Mercator Programme was instrumental for Thai Customs’ successful implementation of the WTO TFA.

The main objective of the Workshop was to facilitate the preparation of the implementation of the TFA in Thailand and to inform participants about international standards, WCO tools and Members’ practices with regard to eight of the twelve TFA Articles designated by Thailand as Category B provisions, including Articles 8 and 11 dealing with Customs cooperation and freedom of transit. This categorization means that Thailand will need extra time to implement these Articles after the TFA comes into force. In addition, Thailand has requested assistance with respect to Article 23.2 on the establishment of a National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF), so as to better understand the importance of Customs playing a prominent role in the NCTF and to engage stakeholders from other government agencies and the private sector.

During the Workshop, participants completed several group tasks which led to in-depth discussions on the Articles in question. During the Article 12 discussions on Customs cooperation, participants completed a quiz and contributed to a plenary session on the different approaches to such cooperation. The outcome of these discussions will serve as a basis for Thailand to develop a roadmap for implementation of the relevant Articles.

The Workshop was brought to a close by Mr. Prawat Chuenchavalit, Director of the Customs Academy. In his concluding remarks he specifically thanked and congratulated the WCO and the experts for a successful Workshop, as borne out by participants’ positive feedback.