WCO participates in the 6th Annual Left of Boom Conference

14 September 2020

The WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, participated in the 6th Annual Left of Boom Conference, hosted by the Intelligence Research Institute (IRI) and San Diego State University’s Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS). The Conference was held virtually, from 9 to 11 September 2020, and was attended by over 80 global security and trade professionals.

The event was opened by Dr. Akshay Pottathil, President of the IRI, a non-profit think-tank based in the United States. The event brought together representatives from governments, military and academia as well as civilian experts to discuss current issues, offer innovative solutions, and share cutting-edge technologies with a view to detecting and curbing threats, whether or not obvious, and defending societies and economies against them.

The WCO Deputy Secretary General gave a presentation on “The impact of COVID-19 on Customs”. He highlighted the current fall in the volume of global trade and the lack of business confidence in the economic outlook, due to the current climate of uncertainty. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the WCO had set up a dedicated web page for WCO Members and the general public, containing relevant tools made available by the Organization and the Customs community. During this challenging period, a reference list of essential goods along with their Harmonized System (HS) codes had been developed, measures taken by Customs administrations around the globe had been shared, and several joint statements, urging greater coordination of actions, had been issued with other international organizations.

As a response to the impact of the health crisis, Deputy Secretary General Treviño Chapa listed a number of actions taken by the WCO and promoted among its Members: (i) the establishment of further facilitation measures for legitimate trade during periods of crisis; (ii) the strengthening of risk management to prevent  illegal products from flooding the markets; (ii) the increased digitalization of Customs procedures; and (iv) the development of new and updated guidelines and actions for a more sustainable world. The proper implementation of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Guidelines, the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce, among other WCO tools, were essential for facing future threats.

When asked by participants to elaborate on the Mercator Programme, the Deputy Secretary General highlighted that the delivery of capacity building to its Member Customs administrations was one of the WCO’s main objectives, and that the Mercator Programme was aimed at guiding Members towards efficient implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement.

The event also benefited from participation by other speakers from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Department of Homeland Security, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and representatives from the private sector.