WCO advances its trade facilitation support to The Philippines under the Mercator Programme

04 February 2021

On 28 January 2021, the WCO, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of the Republic of The Philippines and the World Bank Group, held a follow-up strategic executive-level meeting to discuss the ongoing capacity building collaboration under the Trade Facilitation in Middle Income Countries (TFMICs) Programme. The meeting was chaired by BOC Commissioner, Mr. Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero.

The TFMICs Programme, funded by the Prosperity Fund of the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, supports the BOC on a number of areas both related to organizational development as well as technical trade facilitation measures. Despite the challenges with the global pandemic, TFMICs has successfully managed to advance on a number of areas in the past months, including assisting the BOC in rolling-out a Time Release Study, completing a Customs Gender Equality and Diversity organizational assessment, and identifying areas to improve BOC’s Risk Management procedures. In addition, support on Air Cargo streamlining has been initiated, in line with Article 7.8 on Expedited Shipments of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and relevant for efficient COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The meeting provided an opportunity to take stock of the various activities to date, and discuss priorities going forward. In the upcoming months, the WCO is planning to step up its efforts to enhance the BOC capacity in the areas of Gender, Human Resource Management, Integrity, and to train National Customs Trade Facilitation Champions within the administration. On the technical side, the WCO – in collaboration with the World Bank Group – will continue to support the BOC on the validation of the Times Release Study as well as provide capacity building on Risk Management and Air Cargo streamlining.

The BOC expressed its appreciation for the ongoing support provided under the framework of the TFMICs and underlined its importance in the current economic climate. BOC Commissioner Geurrero said: “This will help us generate revenue and boost our economy – helping us to recover faster from the COVID-19 pandemic.”  The WCO looks forward to continue working in close collaboration with the BOC and its partners at the WBG under the TFMICs, and also commended the BOC for its positive approach and commitment towards remote support.

For more information, please contact capacity.building@wcoomd.org