Successful Workshop for Vanuatu Customs and 6 other Pacific Islands in the area of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC)

04 July 2017

Following a request by the Vanuatu Customs and Inland Revenue Department as part of the implementation of their Customs modernization programme, the World Customs Organization (WCO) with the financial support of Japanese Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF-Japan), organized a five-day Workshop on the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention - RKC) in Port Vila from 26 to 30 June 2017. Initially planned for Vanuatu only, the Workshop was extended, upon a specific request from the Oceania Customs Organization (OCO) Secretariat forwarded to the ROCB-AP, to six non-WCO Member OCO Countries (the Cook Islands, the Solomon Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu).

The Workshop benefited for the opening remarks from Mr. Collins Gesa (Deputy Director of Vanuatu Customs and Inland Revenue Department) who laid emphasis on Customs reform and modernization to facilitate and effectively control trade through international standards like the RKC.  It brought together nearly twenty managers and executives from the Vanuatu Customs, six OCO’s members and the OCO Secretariat. The main objective of the Workshop was to raise the awareness regarding the importance and advantages of the RKC and to conduct a preliminary gap analysis. It was, therefore, an opportunity to give participants a sound grasp of this instrument in order to expedite their country’s accession process, and to effectively prepare and ensure the alignment of their national legislation and eventually implement the Convention as soon as possible. After some introductory presentations by the WCO experts, participants, divided into two sub-groups (one of Vanuatu Customs participants and other of 6 Pacific Islands and the OCO Secretariat), moved on to a comparative analysis of the provisions of the RKC and the national legislation.

In order to achieve the above objectives, two experts from the WCO Secretariat took part in this Workshop as facilitators and shared with participants their knowledge of the RKC and their experiences with regard to a gap analysis of the differences between the RKC and national legislation. During this Workshop, Vanuatu Customs presented, in particular, the outline of Vanuatu Customs modernization plan, the update of Customs Act and regulations as well as progress made by Vanuatu Customs so far in many other areas including the automation with the implementation of ASYCUDA-World. The quality of the discussions through the Workshop highlighted the strong level of interest shown by participants in issues related to the simplification and harmonization of border procedures as well as their preparedness for the accession to and the implementation of the RKC.

This Workshop enjoyed great success and significantly enhanced Vanuatu Customs’ and other Pacific Islands understanding of the RKC provisions, especially the benefits related to the accession and implementation, the accession process, and the gap analysis. The Workshop was concluded with an indicative action plan for the potential amendment of the national legislations and the roadmap towards the accession to the RKC. With regard to the commitment shown by participants and according to the Deputy Director’s as well as OCO’s Secretariat representative final remarks during the closing ceremony, it is clear that Vanuatu and OCO’s Members will initiate necessary next steps for the completion of  their national processes of accession to the RKC according to each Country’s schedule.

Vanuatu Customs and OCO’s Secretariat (including participants from the above-listed Pacific Islands) very much appreciated this timely collaboration and expressed their sincere gratitude to the WCO and the ROCB-AP for all its technical assistance and capacity building support and Japan Customs for the financial support. The WCO Secretariat will continue to support Vanuatu Customs as well as these other Pacific Islands in their modernization efforts, and particularly in the process of accession to and implementation of the RKC.