Asia Pacific Members gathered to discuss priorities of the region and way forward

26 November 2018

The 28th WCO Asia/Pacific Regional Contact Points Meeting was held from 14 to 16 November 2018 in Jaipur, India. The objectives of the meeting were for the delegates from the Asia/Pacific region to discuss issues of common interest of the region and to exchange their views and experiences to further enhance cooperative and inclusive approach for the priorities of the region.

Delegates from 20 Members in the Asia/Pacific region, representatives from the WCO Secretariat, Asia/Pacific Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB A/P), Asia/Pacific Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO A/P) participated in the meeting.

The meeting was inaugurated by Mr. S. Ramesh, Chairman of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Government of India and Vice-Chair for the Asia/Pacific region. Mr. Ramesh welcomed all delegates to Jaipur and stressed his vision as the Vice-Chair in the form of strategic guiding principles such as greater communication and connectivity within the region, harness technology advancements, inclusive approach, and consensus on core issues. He urged all the Members in the region to work collaboratively to take steps forward on regional priorities through existing strong cooperative relationship.

Mr. Ricardo Trevino, Deputy Secretary General of the WCO delivered the keynote address. He emphasized the importance and relevance of information and communication technology which has huge impact on implementation of essential areas of Customs such as single window, e-commerce and risk management, and also touched upon ongoing work of comprehensive review of Revised Kyoto Convention. He welcomed the region to take up key issues for the region and global Customs community, especially on active engagement to the issue of Small Island Economies. He thanked contributions made during the Strategic Plan Workshop held before the meeting and wished productive discussion and concrete outcome through the meeting.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. P.K. Das, Member Customs of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Government of India and discussed a number of topics including E-commerce, Small Island Economies, Security, Trade Facilitation, Digital Customs and review of Revised Kyoto Convention, which are high and common interest of the region. The delegates shared their views and experience on relevant initiatives to make way forward. The region has been implementing its new regional strategic plan for 2018-2022 from this July and the meeting also discussed the way to effectively monitor the progress to consider possible actions to be taken by the region.

The WCO Secretariat contributed to the discussion through providing updates on strategies and initiatives under the six priority areas and a couple of emerging issues to be tackled such as Small Island Economies, Special Customs Zones and Strategic Review of Harmonized System. The Secretariat also shared information on available tools and programmes to support organizational development of Customs administration. The ROCB A/P, the RILO A/P and the RCLs in the region reported on activities conducted, all of which contributed to the lively exchange of views on the focus areas of the region.