WCO contributes to UNDP session on international regulatory reform

01 October 2021

At the invitation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, spoke at a high-level UN General Assembly online side event - "Regulations as a Stimulus" - held on 28 September 2021. The event was aimed at exploring ways to support the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) through international regulatory reforms, under the slogan "Regulations as a Stimulus", to aid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic with limited financial resources.

Dr. Mikuriya explained that as Customs was a revenue collection agency, it consequently played an important role in domestic resource mobilization. However, Customs’ performance could also have a negative impact on economic operators if it lacked efficiency and placed unnecessary regulatory burdens on business. To solve this dilemma, Secretary General Mikuriya described the WCO’s approach, based on the 4 Ts of Tools, Technology, Training and Trust.

Firstly, the use of WCO tools, such as the Revised Kyoto Convention, would connect the African economy internally and externally by guiding Customs through the simplification of procedures and the adoption of a risk management approach to minimize unnecessary interventions. Secondly, the WCO provided support for the use of technology to digitize border procedures and move towards paperless trade and contactless clearance, together with interoperability of IT systems using the WCO Data Model to promote single window and transit systems. Thirdly, Customs officers should be well versed in the latest IT tools and technology, with a view to offering high standards of professionalism and integrity. Finally, Customs needed to work with economic operators as partners, based on trust. To that end, the WCO recommended the use of the Authorized Economic Operator concept which granted facilitation measures to recognized trusted business stakeholders.

During the panel session, AfCFTA Champion and former President of Niger H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou joined with other dignitaries to voice support for trade facilitation through implementation of the AfCFTA.