Empowering Customs through disruptive technologies: Launching the WCO Smart Customs Project in the WCO Americas and Caribbean Region

28 March 2024

From March 18 to 22, 2024, the Smart Customs Project, funded by CCF China, successfully organized a Regional Workshop on Disruptive Technologies in Lima, Peru, for the World Customs Organization (WCO) Americas and Caribbean Region.

Spearheaded by the WCO Vice Chair for the Americas and the Caribbean Region, Fernando Núñez Jáuregui, Deputy National Superintendent of Peru Customs (SUNAT), this pivotal event brought together over 40 participants from 20 WCO Member administrations, alongside esteemed speakers from the private sector, academia, and the other international organizations.

At the heart of the workshop was a recognition of the remarkable strides made by regional administrations in embracing disruptive technologies.  Fernando Núñez Jáuregui emphasized the pivotal role of innovation in navigating the evolving complexities of our global landscape. He underscored the transformative potential of disruptive technologies in ushering in a smarter approach to facilitating and safeguarding global supply chains.

Throughout the workshop, attendees delved into a diverse array of topics related to disruptive technologies, including blockchain, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), drones, geospatial localization, Internet of Things. They explored how these technologies are reshaping the landscape of international trade and brainstormed strategies to leverage them for enhancing the efficiency, security, and transparency of Customs processes.

The workshop provided a platform for participants to exchange invaluable experiences, share insights on digital transformation strategies, and draw lessons from innovation projects. This collaborative endeavor not only reinforced the regional capacity to lead digital transformation, but to also fostered closer bonds of cooperation among Customs administrations.

Interactive sessions and group exercise facilitated lively discussions on the status and challenges of technology adoption in the region, emphasizing the importance of responsible principles and change management perspectives. The engagement of internal stakeholders and the integration of user needs emerged as central themes, alongside a commitment to leveraging existing research and academia partnerships.

Gerardo Arturo López Gonzales, National Superintendent of Peru Customs (SUNAT), expressed appreciation for the fruitful outcomes of the Workshop, highlighting the diverse spectrum of innovative opportunities explored. He emphasized the significance of advancing digital Customs initiatives while concurrently nurturing human talent to enhance Customs performance through technological advancements, underscoring the pivotal role of both in achieving smarter controls.

As the inaugural event of a series of regional workshops under the Smart Customs Project, this workshop marked the beginning of a vibrant community of experts. The discussions during the workshop confirmed the need for the development of a dedicated portal where participants will continue to engage in peer-to-peer dialogues, co-create inclusive solutions, and cultivate a culture of innovation in Customs administrations. Future interactions will guide the selection of technologies that the Project will focus on, ensuring alignment with Member needs and technological readiness.