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Workshop in St. Lucia

27 febrero 2009
Workshop in St. Lucia

February 2009

On February 25 and 26, the World Customs Organization, the US Department of Commerce, ITA, and Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council developed, coordinated and hosted a workshop in St. Lucia for ten island administrations and private sector representatives. The workshop was titled “Changing Times: Making the Supply Chain More Secure and More Efficient” covered various topics ranging from current global situations, customs responsibilities in today’s world and private sector’s responsibilities in today’s world. However, the most important topic was how to develop and lay the foundation for an Authorized Economic Operator program.

Participants in the event included customs administrations from the Eastern Caribbean States, private sector representatives from the islands and private sector representatives from the United States. The workshop included facilitators from the World Bank, Microsoft, US CBP’s C-TPAT, WCO, US Dept of Commerce and CCLEC.

The key success, and it was rated a success by the participants, was the dialogue it opened for the participants. Dialogue that included discussions on overcoming current cultural business climates within customs and the private sector, and how to develop trust to forge a foundation for a successful AEO program. This dialogue was especially significant as there was lack of trust between Customs and private businesses. Both Customs and the private sector explored the benefits to each of an AEO program and looked at how to develop it further. The end of the workshop found the workshop divided into workgroups that were tasked with developing regional action plans. It is expected that collaboration and dialogue will continue between Customs officials and private sector stakeholders to develop secure and efficient customs procedures.

This workshop was made possible by financial support from the US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration that funded a large part of the workshop. The Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council that funded airline tickets for the Customs Administrations to attend and provided unprecedented logistical support. Finally, the WCO whose own support funded the per diems of the Customs personnel and provided a subject matter expert for the workshop. To these fine organizations, the WCO sends its thanks for its support in developing this program.

Finally, the workshop does not mark the end of a process but the beginning. Mr. Paul Hillaire, permanent secretary for CCLEC, announced that CCLEC would take on the responsibility for designing and developing a pilot AEO program for the participants. However, he did press that he would need the human resource support from the administrations present. The WCO and US DOC also vocalized their support for the project and offered technical assistance to assist in developing AEO programs in the Eastern Caribbean.