WCO Deputy Secretary General takes part in the PEN-CP Annual Event

13 January 2021

On 12 January 2021, the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, attended the Pan-European Network of Customs Practioners (PEN-CP) Annual Event. The PEN-CP is European Union (EU) Horizon 2020 funded network with 13 European Customs administrations.

This network aims to facilitate the translation of Customs security research, innovation ideas and requirements into scalable and viable solutions, technologies, and process improvements. The four-days online conference brought together  experts working in risk management, data analytics, detection technologies, Customs laboratories, innovation procurement, Customs policies, international relations and more.

On this occasion, the Deputy Secretary General gave a keynote presentation on the “COVID-19 practical implications on Customs, border management and global supply chains”. He began by providing the audience with some figures demonstrating how the volume of trade had been impacted by the outbreak of the pandemic, noting that this impact was uneven from one sector of activity to another. In this respect, he took the example of E-Commerce which had experienced greater growth.

He went on to explain that Customs’ response to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had been developed rapidly and was based on four focus areas, namely: facilitating the cross-border movements of relief and essential goods and of medical supplies; supporting the economy and maintaining supply chain continuity; protecting Customs staff;  and protecting society from counterfeit goods and fake medicines.

He stressed the importance of harmonizing the practical actions carried out during the pandemic, recalling the need for multilateralism and effective coordination in order to mitigate the effects of the health crisis. By way of example, the WCO's Operation STOP and Mercator Programme had demonstrated the Organization’s readiness to support coordination between multiple stakeholders on the ground. The Organization's constant dialogue with its Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG) and cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) also reflected its contribution to multilateralism. 

The Deputy Secretary General brought his presentation to a close by referring to the Resolution endorsed by the WCO Council in December 2020, to facilitate cross-border movement of situationally critical medicines and vaccines. The Resolution addresses measures to be taken by Customs administrations to carry out clearance of vaccines for export, transit and import as a matter of priority.