6th WCO Global AEO Conference opens in Shenzhen, China

08 May 2024

On 8 May 2024, the 6th WCO Global AEO Conference was launched in Shenzhen, China, by the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Mr. Ian Saunders. This event, themed “Harnessing the Power of AEO Programmes for Inclusive and Sustainable Global Trade,” attracted over 1,200 attendees from 108 countries. The opening ceremony was graced by the Vice Minister of the General Administration of China Customs (GACC), Mr. Wang Lingjun, and the Mayor of Shenzhen City, Mr. Qin Weizhong, along with other distinguished guests and delegates.

In his opening speech, Secretary General Saunders thanked the GACC for their collaboration in organizing the conference and for their relentless efforts to ensure its success. He stated that, “AEOs epitomize the synergy between Customs authorities and the business community, fostering a collaborative environment where trade efficiency and security are paramount. The significance of AEOs transcends mere operational benefits; the AEO programme embodies our shared commitment to a transparent, secure, and resilient trade ecosystem.” He stressed the importance of amplifying the benefits of AEO programmes across the full spectrum of global trade participants and underscored that the strength of the programmes is magnified when there is engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders. He added that, by integrating more MSMEs into the AEO family, Customs will enrich the tapestry of global trade.

The Vice Minister of the GACC thanked the WCO for organizing the conference in Shenzhen, highlighting China’s leadership role in AEO implementation and reiterated the willingness of China to further support other Customs administrations in adopting and implementing AEO programmes. The Mayor of Shenzhen city expressed his satisfaction that the city of Shenzhen had been chosen for the organization of the conference and enumerated the various innovative programmes adopted by the city.

The Conference, spanning three days, features 8 plenary sessions and 6 breakouts sessions with 80 speakers. These sessions will cover a wide range of topics pertinent to AEOs, including leveraging data analytics and emerging technologies for better risk management and trade facilitation, empowering women through AEO programmes, the role of AEO programme in supporting e-commerce and cross-corder trade in the digital age, expanding the AEO programme to Free Zones, and assessing the impact of the AEO Programme.