26th Regional Conference of Customs Directors General of the Americas and the Caribbean

The 26th Regional Conference of Directors General of Customs (RCCDG) was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on 13 and 14 May 2024, under the theme "Customs Engaging Traditional & New Partners with Purpose". Hosted by Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), the event  was organized in collaboration with the National Superintendency of Customs and Tax Administration (SUNAT) of Peru, in its capacity as the WCO Vice-Chair for the Americas and the Caribbean Region. The Conference aimed to enhance regional cooperation and innovation in Customs operations.

The opening ceremony featured the participation of Mr. Ian Saunders, WCO Secretary General, Mrs. Velma Ricketts-Walker, CEO and Commissioner of the Jamaica Customs Agency, Mr. Fernando Núñez Jáuregui, Deputy National Superintendent of Customs (SUNAT) for Peru, the WCO Vice-Chair for the Americas and the Caribbean Region, and Hon. Mr. Zavia Mayne, State Minister of Finance & the Public Service of Jamaica. The speakers emphasized the importance of cooperation among the region’s Customs administrations. They highlighted the Conference as a valuable opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and create new alliances. Secretary General Saunders particularly noted that the commitment of Members and stakeholders is vital in making the WCO a stronger organization.

Throughout the Conference, the Directors General shared their experiences on implementing strategic initiatives discussed in previous RCCDG meetings. They explored topics such as innovative technologies for border security and control, and the promotion of greater inclusion and diversity in Customs initiatives. The WCO Secretariat presented the results of its capacity-building efforts in the region, showcasing the significant progress made in enhancing Customs capabilities.

A key highlight of the 26th RCCDG was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Superintendency of Tax Administration of Guatemala and the National Customs Authority of Panama. This agreement aims to strengthen cooperation and information exchange to prevent and combat smuggling and Customs fraud. It reflects the region’s commitment to enhancing security and efficiency in Customs operations.

On 15 May, the RCCDG and the Regional Private Sector Group held their 4th Joint Forum, which served as a platform to discuss topics such as fostering synergy for coordinated border management, ethics and transparency in international trade, green trade, and voluntary compliance. The Joint Forum concluded with the signing of a letter of intent on implementing technology to facilitate and secure international trade, reaffirming the public-private engagement in addressing critical issues in Customs and trade.

The 26th RCCDG successfully brought together Customs leaders from the Americas and the Caribbean to discuss and address key challenges and opportunities in the region. The event underscored the importance of cooperation, innovation, and inclusivity in advancing the goals of the WCO and enhancing the effectiveness of Customs administrations across the region.