ASEAN and WCO Reaffirm Commitment to Enhanced Cooperation at 13th Consultation

10 June 2024

At the invitation of Dr. Nguyen Van Can, Director-General of Viet Nam Customs and Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Directors-General of Customs meeting this year, WCO Secretary General Ian Saunders virtually participated in the 13th ASEAN – World Customs Organization (WCO) Consultation on 5 June 2024. This annual consultation, held alongside the meeting of the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs, provides a unique opportunity for bilateral discussions to enhance cooperation.

In his opening remarks, Secretary General Saunders expressed his warm gratitude to the ASEAN members for their continued support to the WCO and acknowledged the history of robust engagement between the two organizations. He appreciated the active participation of ASEAN members in the WCO’s work, noting that sharing their real-world experience helps direct the organization’s activities.

During the consultation, Secretary General Saunders outlined the WCO’s recent key achievements and updates, which will be reported to the Policy Commission and the Council, including the implementation status of the Strategic Plan, a possible strategic review of the Harmonized system, and a proposal for a resolution on strengthening  Customs-Industry resilience. Additionally, he provided insights from the 2024 Customs Environmental Scan and the WCO modernization plan. He also updated the audience on the preparation status for the capacity-building activities planned for the new fiscal year.

The head of Regional Office for Capacity Building Asia/Pacific (ROCB A/P) reported detailed information on the capacity-building activities conducted by the WCO for ASEAN members. These activities included workshops and human resource development programmes. He expressed appreciation for their cooperation in organizing the regional workshops and demonstrated readiness to support the Members of the region.

Participants reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the cooperative relationship to advance the goals of facilitating legitimate trade, ensuring fair revenue collection, and protecting society.