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XIIth Regional Conference of Customs Directors General of the Americas and the Caribbean

16 septiembre 2009

XIIth Regional Conference of Customs Directors General of the Americas and the Caribbean

Colombia, 7 to 9 September 2009


The XIIth Regional Conference of Customs Directors General of the Americas and the Caribbean (RCCDG) was held from 7 to 9 September 2009 in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) and chaired by the Regional Vice-Chair, Ms. Silvina Tirabassi of Argentina.

The Conference was attended by delegates from 19 WCO Members in the region, 1 non-Member country and 3 regional organizations (CCLEC, Inter-American Development Bank and SIECA). The private sector, primarily Customs brokers’ associations, also participated in some of the working sessions.

The overall theme of the Conference was “The new challenges that Customs administrations face on the international scene”.

After a comprehensive initial presentation by the WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, covering the ongoing work of the Organization and, more particularly, the outcomes and initiatives arising out of the recent WCO Council Sessions, attention focused on certain key topics of regional interest:

  • Customs in the 21st Century, where Mexican Customs gave a presentation showing how it was using the WCO’s “Customs in the 21st Century” policy paper as a kind of “checklist” in the context of its modernization process. The Colombian Administration also gave details of its modernization programme.
  • The revised Kyoto Convention, where Brazilian Customs explained its internal ratification procedure and provided information on the formalization of its accession process which was now well advanced.
  • Capacity building, where an update of the current status of the Columbus Programme in the region and scheduled future regional activities was presented by the WCO Secretariat. Presentations were also made on the work of the Regional Training Centre in the Dominican Republic and the Regional Office for Capacity Building in Argentina. Mr. Mikuriya announced that as a result of continued dialogue and coordination supported by the WCO Secretariat, the Inter-American Development Bank had just agreed to fund the ROCB’s activities in Buenos Aires.
  • The global financial crisis, where the Regional Port Association of Cartagena explained the challenges and positive prospects for the port, notwithstanding the current global economic and financial situation.
  • The United States “10 + 2” initiative, where a US Customs and Border protection representative provided an update on the current position in respect of this initiative.

Other topics covered during the Conference were Customs and the environment (presentation by Colombian Customs), and implementation of the electronic certificate of origin under the free trade agreement between Chile and Colombia (presentation by Chilean Customs).

The Head of the Colombian Revenue Service, Mr. Nestor Diaz, said that the WCO provided an ideal forum for the exchange of experience between countries of the region, this being a productive means of promoting cooperation and confidence in the global trading system.

Mr. Mikuriya emphasized that the WCO would continue to do its utmost to ensure that the interests and proposals of the region were reflected in its future work plans. He stressed the importance of working together to modernize Customs administrations in order to sustain the development of national economies and to protect borders from a wide range of security risks.  In this connection, he urged Members from Latin America to increase their participation and involvement in the WCO, this being assisted by greater provision of WCO documentation in Spanish, as well as Spanish interpretation at more WCO meetings and conferences, including the forthcoming Technology and Innovation Forum (5 to 6 November 2009) and the Revenue Structures Forum (10 to 11 December 2009), both of which would be held at WCO Headquarters. The arrival of the new WCO Deputy Secretary General from Chile, Mr. Sergio Mujica, in January 2010 would, moreover, undoubtedly provide an extremely useful and informed vision of the concerns and priorities of the region.

Guatemala’s generous offer to host the next RCCDG meeting in the second half of May 2010 was accepted.

In conclusion, delegates expressed their appreciation to Mr. Bernardo Escobar, the Director General of Colombian Customs, and his officials for the excellent organization of the Conference.
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