The WCO support the BOC to develop National Trade Facilitation Champions

01 April 2022

In recognition of the importance placed on the need for a coordinated national approach to the implementation of trade facilitation measures it was agreed, in collaboration with the Philippines Bureau of Customs (BOC), to develop a pool of National Customs Trade Facilitation Champions (TF Champions).

With the support of the WCO, the TF Champions have become equipped with enhanced knowledge and understanding of trade facilitation matters and from a practical multi-agency application perspective of the current trade facilitation technical measures, particularly those associated with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).   

Through a number of on-line and face-to-face workshops the TF Champions have demonstrated an excellent understanding of the strategic importance of trade facilitation, the specific Articles of the TFA, of the supporting WCO tools and instruments and have shown, through a series of tailored exercises, their ability to articulate that knowledge and understanding in an effective and credible manner. 

The TFA Champions have also demonstrated their understanding of the need to adopt a collaborative approach and the importance of raising the awareness and understanding of all key external stakeholders involved in trade facilitation.  In this regard, and testament to the success of the WCO TF Champions initiative, all six TF Champions are now very much involved in the Philippines Trade Facilitation Committee (PTFC) as either part of the Committee itself or as part of the PTFC Secretariat. 

Mr. Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, BOC Commissioner, stated during his opening comments of the consolidation workshop held between 21 to 25 March 2022 in Manila, Philippines, “The continuing development of our six National Customs Trade Facilitation Champions can only enhance the steady progress that has marked our trade facilitation agenda.  With your participation and dedication, the Bureau’s efforts under the WCO Multi-Year Mercator Programme can only get better”

In this respect, the TF Champions have a TFA Ambassador-like role and are now expected to help further promote and drive the trade facilitation agenda within their Customs administration and nationally – also vis-à-vis other border agencies. 

The initiative had a blended approach. The 2021 remote training was supported by the United Kingdom’s Trade Facilitation in Middle Income Countries Programme and the follow-up in-country consolidation workshop took place under the framework of the United Kingdom’s Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Trade Facilitation Capacity Building Programme. The WCO looks forward to continue to support the trade facilitation performance of the Philippines under the next phase of the HMRC Programme ‘Accelerate Trade Facilitation’, which kicks-off in April 2022.

For more information on ‘Accelerate Trade Facilitation’ Programme see here.