National Time Release Study Workshop in Belize

07 June 2018

From 28 May to 1 June 2018, the World Customs Organization (WCO) organized a Time Release Study (TRS) workshop in Belize City for the National Customs administration of Belize. Approximately 40 participants attended the event which gathered different stakeholders involved in the clearance process of goods in Belize.

The national Comptroller of Belize Customs, Mr. Colin Griffith, did the official opening of the Workshop. In his opening address to the workshop, Mr. Griffith underscored the importance of Belize to carry out a TRS to improve the efficiency of Customs and all other trade stakeholders in Belize, especially in the context of the implementation of the WTO Agreement of Trade Facilitation (TFA). Furthermore, amongst other things, he expressed his vote of thanks to the WCO for supporting Belize in organizing the event, indicating that the country has received other assistance from the WCO. 

During the workshop, amongst others, it was highlighted that TRS is a key instrument for Countries to measure relevant aspects of the effectiveness of operational procedures that are carried out by Customs and other regulatory actors pertaining the international movement of cargo. Important aspects concerning the WCO TRS Guide Version-III were presented to the participants.  Participants were informed about TRS objectives, challenges, opportunities and ways forward for Belize to conduct a TRS with the involvement of Customs and other key stakeholders that intervene in the national clearance process.

At the Workshop, participants jointly drafted a summary report of the meeting and concrete Action Plan, both subject to be circulated to all the participants by the Belize Customs Administration.  The Action Plan will guide the implementation of various actions that will have to take place in order for Belize to conduct a TRS within one year. Carrying out its TRS will also enable this Country to comply with the requirements of Article 7.6 of the WTO TFA for which WTO Members are encouraged to measure and publish their average release time of goods periodically and in a consistent manner, using tools such as, inter alia, the Time Release Study of the World Customs Organization (WCO).

The workshop also allowed the WCO Secretariat to provide a training to the Customs officers from Belize on how to do use the WCO TRS software, a special software used to design a TRS survey forms, store the data and generate statistical information related to the time spent between the arrival of the goods and their physical release.