The WCO holds its first Accreditation Workshop on Free Zones

26 May 2021

An On-line pre-Accreditation Workshop for English speaking experts on Free Zones (FZ) was held from 17 to 21May 2021 via the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) CLiKC! platform.

The December 2020 Policy Commission (PC) and Council endorsed the WCO Guidance on Free Zones and the PC requested Members, where feasible, to make personnel available to become accredited experts on FZs to help deliver critical capacity building activities. Following the PC decision, and in order to meet the increasing needs of WCO Members for Capacity Building support for a harmonized and efficient implementation of the WCO Guidance on Free Zones and other relevant WCO instruments and tools, the Secretariat organized this first Accreditation Workshop in the area of Free Zones as a virtual accreditation initiative.

The event was organized with the objective of establishing a pool of Technical and Operational Advisors capable of independently leading, on behalf of the WCO and for its Members, Capacity Building missions in the field of Free Zones.

Twelve selected candidates representing five of the WCO regions took part in the Workshop. Mr. Chris Martin, Senior Counsellor at UK HM Revenue and Customsand Co-chair of the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade (TF-CIT), joined the workshop as a co-facilitator. Participants from Botswana, China, Columbia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Jamaica, Japan, Mauritius, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Turkey and worked intensively and demonstrated their knowledge and skills to deliver Capacity Building activities in the area of Free Zones. Moreover, the Workshop served as a forum for sharing knowledge and experience, as well as discussing challenges and solutions.

The participants that successfully completed the Accreditation Workshop will be invited to the next stage of the WCO expert accreditation process, including regional workshops as a pre-qualified WCO expert in the area of Free Zones. Fully accredited experts will be expected to conduct future WCO Capacity Building activities.