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213th/214th Permanent Technical Committee concludes its robust discussions with high level of commitment

17 octubre 2016

On Friday 14 October 2016, the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) concluded its 4-day discussions on many topical themes of relevance for trade facilitation and procedures. Around 140 delegates engaged in discussions focusing on Digital Customs, Future of Customs and the Economic Competitiveness Package.

For the first time, the PTC held a Joint Meeting with the Working Group on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFAWG) on 11 October, when the number of delegates reached 180. Cross-cutting issues such as Border Agency Cooperation, the update of the Time Release Study Guide, accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention and the WCO Cargo Targeting System in the context of Risk Management, were discussed. More information on the Joint Meeting can be found here.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Ana Hinojosa, Director of Compliance and Facilitation (WCO) underlined that the PTC seeks to explore the many Members’ innovative initiatives and practices which are out there and how they could be of benefit to the WCO Membership. She reiterated the importance of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), but recognized that many Members were reaching out and implementing trade facilitation measures beyond the TFA.

The PTC re-elected with great support both Mr. Rob Van Kuik (The Netherlands) and Mr. Matome Mathole (South Africa) to the roles of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson respectively, for another one-year term.

Under Digital Customs, which is the theme of the WCO for this year, the PTC provided guidance for the work being undertaken under the Working Group on E-Commerce and for a number of topics which were relevant for the ICT side of Customs work, such as exchange of information between Customs and Tax Administrations, Integrated Supply Chain Management and Data Quality. The PTC also followed up on the Digital Customs Work Plan which was adopted by the Policy Commission in July 2016.

In his role as Moderator of the Virtual Working Group on the Future of Customs (VWG FC), the PTC Vice-Chairperson Mr. Mathole invited interested delegates, which have not yet done so, to join the VWG FC. Under Global Value Chains (GVCs), Members discussed how best to support better connectedness to GVCs especially through improved procedures, such as inward/outward processing procedures, and provided wide support and engagement for further work in this area. The PTC also learnt about Smart Steaming, the related Synchro-Net project and the potential applicability to Customs.

The PTC endorsed the Action Plan for Phase 3 of the Economic Competitiveness Package (E CP) which will be submitted to the Policy Commission in December this year. Under the ECP theme, the Meeting further received an update on the development of new Transit Guidelines which will be submitted to the PTC for endorsement in April 2017. The PTC also generated a lot of input to the Customs Brokers topic, especially in the context of sanction/reward policies, which will help progress the work further in this field.

Performance Measurement was also addressed and an example of a Member’s experience in using the Achieving Excellence in Customs model presented. The PTC also endorsed its Work Programme for the next three financial years, subject to amendments and improvements submitted by the delegates.

The PTC generated robust discussions, active engagement and high level of commitment from the delegates. The Secretariat would like to thank the many presenters who shared their experiences and lessons learnt: Georgia, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Russian Federation, South Korea, the United States, Association of Professional Customs Brokers of the Americas (ASAPRA), International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), MJC2 and World Bank Group.