WCO Regional Workshop on Digital Customs and E-Commerce for the MENA Region

29 May 2017

The World Customs Organization (WCO) with the support of Bahrain Customs and the Korean Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF Korea) organized a Regional Workshop on E-Commerce and Digital Customs for the North of Africa, Near and Middle East (MENA) Region from 8 to 11 May 2017 in Bahrain.

In his opening remarks, Shaikh Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalifa, President of Bahrain Customs,   highlighted the importance of the use of modern technologies and electronic services in the Customs environment to improve Customs business processes. He also noted the significance of growing cross-border e-commerce and the need for Customs administrations to adequately prepare to address issues stemming therefrom.  

During the workshop, attended by thirty-five senior and middle ranking Customs officers from 12 countries of the Region , the WCO experts provided detailed information and explanations on international and regional developments within the MENA region, including opportunities, challenges and potential solutions in the area of cross-border e-commerce and Digital Customs, and presented related WCO tools and instruments, country examples, case studies and the WCO’s ongoing and future envisaged work.

Discussions focused on the exchange of national experiences and initiatives concerning effective risk management and efficient revenue collection on low-value shipments. The participants also shared respective practical experiences/best practices relating to the implementation various ICT solutions.

The Workshop was very well received by participants and raised a lot of interest and robust discussions. Participants acquired an enhanced understanding of issues relating to cross-border commerce and Digital Customs as well as relevant WCO instruments and tools in terms of their effective and harmonized implementation at the national/regional level.  

Additionally, the Workshop provided participants with a good opportunity to establish networks with other Customs administration of the Region through an enhanced understanding of issues of mutual interest at the regional level.