The 3rd Meeting of Heads of WCO Asia/Pacific Regional Customs Laboratories concludes successfully

02 May 2024

The World Customs Organization (WCO) participated in the 3rd Meeting of Heads of WCO Asia/Pacific Regional Customs Laboratories (RCLs), on 23-25 April 2024 in Jinju, the Republic of Korea, organized by the WCO Asia/Pacific ROCB and hosted by RCL in Korea. The WCO also organized a study visit for Heads of African Customs laboratories to this meeting, conducted under the EU-WCO HS Africa Programme, funded by the European Union.

The delegates from Algeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, had the opportunity to attend the proceedings of the meeting as observers and engage in rich exchanges with representatives of RCLs from China, India, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The presentations of RCLs, RILO and ROCB in AP, and the WCO gave a comprehensive picture on the ongoing work, the latest developments, the challenges, the capacity building actions and cooperation opportunities in the work and management of regional customs laboratories.

With regards the WCO RCL Professionals Programme, RCLs in India and Japan introduced the last year’s programme, and the Algerian Delegate presented his experience during the 2023/2024 RCL Professionals Programme in Korea. Three RCLs used the information exchange as a reference for the next programme.

Participants also discussed about cooperation with Customs laboratories in other regions, especially the African region because there are only four Customs laboratories and no RCL. A/P RCLs agreed to continue working with partners in Africa, including inviting them for the workshops and leveraging synergies with the other initiatives like the WCO RCL Professionals Programme.

As part of the programme, Korea Customs Service organized tours to RCL in Korea and to Busan Customs Laboratory. Participants explored the premises of the laboratories and were introduced to the methods and equipment used to analyze various categories of merchandise, along with the sampling techniques, safety requirements, analysis purposes, laboratory standards, and procedural aspects of laboratory work.

The Meeting concluded successfully and the RCLs agreed to continue to exchange information and work together to strengthen the functioning of customs laboratories within the region and other regions.

The delegates from African countries highly appreciated ROCB/AP, RCL in Korea and other A/P RCLs. The delegates stressed that they would utilize the experience and information to modernize or establish their own Customs laboratories and they would cooperate to establish the first RCL in Africa.