The PTC agrees on the need to strategize with latest technologies in Customs and Border Management

23 April 2018

After four days of intensive discussions, the 219th/220th Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) concluded its proceedings on 19 April. The meeting of the PTC, the key technical committee dealing with strategic issues concerning procedures and facilitation, gathered 140 delegates from governments, the private sector, international organisations and academia to discuss several topical matters in this area. In her opening remarks, the Director Compliance and Facilitation Ms. Ana Hinojosa stressed that in line with the WCO's theme for this year, the Committee will be taking numerous small steps towards Building a Secure Business Environment for Economic Development.

The PTC devoted on one full day to disruptive technologies, organised under the umbrella of the Future of Customs agenda. It brought together speakers and delegates in four workshops to discuss Blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Biometrics, drones and other latest technologies. It also explored the strategies supporting the introduction of new technologies, as well as the linkages with and the potential of using foresight in designing the Future of Customs. The PTC fully supported the draft Study Report on Disruptive Technologies, currently under development and which will be revisited in the meeting in spring 2019.  The PTC highly welcomed the contribution of the diverse speakers from the private sector, academia and the governments and the various insights on the latest trends, developments and pilots in Customs, and border and supply chain management.

Under the follow-up actions, the PTC adopted the draft Framework of Standards for Cross-Border E-Commerce and the accompanying Resolution and Work Plan. Furthermore, a number of updated tools were endorsed, such as the Guide for the Time Release Study, the IT Guide for Executives, the Integrated Supply Chain Management Guidelines and the Coordinated Border Management Compendium. The PTC also endorsed the Recommendation and Guidelines for the Trader Identification Number which is expected to further facilitate the implementation of Mutual Recognition Agreements and Arrangements. The FAQ document on the linkages between the SAFE Authorized Economic Operators and Article 7.7 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement was discussed and endorsed. The documents will be forwarded to Policy Commission and Council in June.

Furthermore, the PTC provided direction for the way forward on the topics of Customs-Railways cooperation and Special Customs Zones / Free Zones, that have been recently placed on the PTC's agenda.

The PTC welcomed the Secretariat's engagement with the World Bank on the “Doing Business” survey and supported collaboration on the Customs Revenue Benchmarking Database, put forward by Switzerland.

The PTC unanimously elected Mr. Ian Saunders, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, International Affairs, United States Customs and Border Protection, as the Chairperson of the PTC, and Ms. Maka Khvedelidze, Deputy Head of International Relations, Georgia Revenue Service, as the Vice-Chairperson. The delegates and the Secretariat expressed full appreciation for all the excellent work and contributions of the outgoing Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, Mr. Rob van Kuik (the Netherlands) and Mr. Matome Mathole (South Africa), to the success of the PTC in the past three years.