PTC gives green light to a number of tools to be presented to the Policy Commission and Council in June

04 May 2022

The 235th/236th Sessions of the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) were convened in a hybrid format from 25th to 29th April 2022. About 300 delegates from WCO Members and observers from international organizations, private sector and academia registered for the meeting and there was also a high level of in-person participation. Discussions held throughout the week-long meeting led to the endorsement of several tools which will be presented to the Policy Commission (PC) and/or Council in June 2022 for approval.   

In his opening remarks, the Director of Compliance and Facilitation, Pranab Kumar Das, welcomed delegates to the first ever hybrid PTC meeting and expressed his appreciation to all the delegates joining the meeting, emphasizing that their active participation is critical for achieving the objectives of the meeting.

Under the “Theme of the Year” agenda item, WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, together with panelists from the United Nations Statistics Division (UNStats), the International Trade Center (ITC) and the International Network of Customs Universities (INCU), discussed at length the draft WCO Data Strategy, highlighting that the digital economy is developing at a high rate, availing a lot of data for all WCO Members. With that backdrop, the Secretary General indicated that the Data Strategy, on the other hand, has evolved and matured to a level that data tools are free to all and accessible, therefore, it was time for us to extend the use of data in a wider context. He further assured Members of the Secretariat’s support in their transition to become more data-driven. Furthermore, the PTC obtained valuable input and contributions for fine-tuning the Data Strategy in advance of its submission to the June 2022 PC and Council.

The Chairperson of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Committee (TFC) Christopher O’Toole (Canada), addressed developments taking place in the WTO TFC, including the completion of the first four-year review of the implementation of the operation and implementation of the TFA, how they relate to the WCO and how the WCO can further assist in its work. The TFC Chairperson also stressed that the WCO has played an important role in providing valuable insights to the Committee’s work. The Secretary General expressed appreciation for the remarks from the TFC Chairperson and underlined the longstanding WCO/WTO cooperation, including through the two bodies, the WTO TFC and the WCO Working Group on the WTO TFA (TFAWG). The Secretary General stressed the WCO’s continued commitment and support to TFA implementation through the Mercator Programme launched in 2014. The WTO Secretariat provided an overview of the latest developments and shared the relevant sources of information regarding ratifications, notifications and Members’ individual profiles, available on the WTO TFA Facility and TFA Database web sites.

The Committee endorsed a number of tools to be sent to the PC and Council in June 2022 for approval; such as the updated Study Report on Disruptive Technologies, the Railway Guidance, the updated Coordinated Border Management (CBM) Compendium, the 3rd edition of the Compendium of Case Studies on E-Commerce, Self-Assessment Checklist to be incorporated as an annex into the WCO Guidelines on disaster management supply chain continuity and the PTC Work Programme for 2022-2025.

Under the E-Commerce agenda item, the PTC took note of intersessional progress in delivering capacity-building and awareness-raising activities aimed at supporting Members’ implementation of the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce (E-Commerce FoS), in updating the Secretariat Note on expanding the concept of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) to cross-border e-commerce, and in compiling the 3rd edition of the Compendium of Case Studies on E-Commerce. The Committee also took note of the progress made in the framework of the first four-year periodic review of the E-Commerce FoS and the Technical Specifications to the Framework, discussed a number of amendment proposals, and endorsed revised versions of these important tools. During the discussion on the outcome of the first periodic review of the E-Commerce Package, the Committee agreed to consider the respective review/maintenance mechanism at its next meeting. The documents on E-Commerce Business Models and E-Commerce Stakeholders: Roles and Responsibilities were earmarked to be subject to annual review in Financial Year 2022-2023.

In addition, the PTC followed up and provided guidance on a number of items such as the role of Customs in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, membership of the Advanced Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record Contact Committee (API/PNR CC), the WCO Performance Measurement Mechanism (PMM) as well as an important discussion on the development of new Time Release Study (TRS) Online System.

Taking into account the importance that the circular economy has assumed at a policy level, the Committee appreciated the great ideas and views that were provided that will enhance environmental regulatory compliance and that will help green the supply chain.

At the request of delegates, the PTC also discussed the role of Customs in fragile and conflict affected situations and provided guidance to the Secretariat on the way forward in this regard.

The PTC also took note of a number of presentations by Members regarding their national experiences.

Lastly, the PTC came to a close with the election of Mr. David Saville from the United Kingdom and Ms. Ririn Septiani from Indonesia as the new Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson respectively, for the financial year 2022-2023.

The next meeting of the PTC will be held on 24-28 October 2022.