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The WCO Trade Facilitation Agreement Working Group successfully concluded its 6th Meeting in conjunction with the Permanent Technical Committee

12 octubre 2016

More than 180 delegates representing Customs, Trade and other Ministries from WCO Members, the WTO and other international organisations, development partners, academia and business convened at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels on 10 and 11 October 2016.

Ms. Ana Hinojosa, Director, Compliance and Facilitation (WCO) reminded delegates that the increasing number of countries ratifying the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) brought the implementation of it ever closer. She said that the WCO remained fully committed to the trade facilitation agenda and would continue the cooperation with all stakeholders to support the implementation of trade facilitation measures based on WCO’s global standards such as the Revised Kyoto Convention.

On the first day, delegates were updated about the WTO TFA developments and the WCO Mercator Programme for the implementation of the TFA. During a panel discussion about National Committees on Trade Facilitation, representatives from the WTO, UNCTAD and the WCO discussed possible synergies in that area. Mr. Luc de Blieck, the newly appointed Deputy Director of the Compliance and Facilitation Directorate, explained that the WCO had gained from its Members a lot of useful experience and best practices and developed guidance material for the establishment and maintenance of National Committees on Trade Facilitation (NCTF). He said that the WCO published this information for everyone to use. He pledged the continued support of the WCO to the Members that requested assistance, not only for NCTFs but for all their expressed needs.

On the second day, the Permanent Technical Committee delegates joined their colleagues of the TFA Working Group for strategic discussions about the implementation of the TFA. The topics for discussion on the Joint Sessions included Border Agency Cooperation, the WCO Time Release Study, the WCO Cargo Targeting System, TFA related developments in other WCO bodies and the Revised Kyoto Convention. On the second day, the TFAWG also endorsed the new TFAWG Work Programme and Annual Work Plan that will give direction to the future work of the Working Group.

On 11 October, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) held a side event during the lunchbreak on their experiences and lessons learned in establishing a national Single Window. This event was well attended and Members expressed great appreciation for the opportunity to hear firsthand the obstacles and realities faced by Members, in this case US CBP. The experiences shared reinforced the value of Border Agency Cooperation and stakeholder engagement to shape the future innovation and technology advancements, especially in TFA implementation.