WCO supports the consolidation of the SAFE Framework of Standards and the implementation of AEO programme in Fiji

12 junio 2017

(5 - 8 June 2017, Suva, Fiji)

At the invitation of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA), the WCO with the support of Japanese Customs Cooperation Fund conducted a ‘National Workshop on the SAFE Framework of Standards (FoS) and Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programme’ from 5 to 8 June 2017 in Suva.

40 middle and senior ranking officials from FRCA and other government agencies such as Bio-security, Airports Fiji Limited, Fiji Ports, and Trade Ministry as well as representatives from the private sector (e.g., traders, logistics operators, Customs brokers and shipping agents) participated in the Workshop.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Visvnath Das, FRCA Chief Executive Officer thanked the WCO for organizing the Workshop and underlined the need for enhancing collaboration between Customs, other government agencies and businesses to secure and facilitate global trade through an effective implementation of the SAFE Framework and AEO programme. Highlighting the significance of supply chain security, he added that the workshop would also help participants in better understanding how to launch an AEO programme and develop the appropriate legal and regulatory provisions.  

Based on the current situation in Fiji, the WCO experts presented detailed information on the importance of supply chain security; the WCO SAFE FoS; Customs-Business partnership; AEO programme requirements, benefits, validation and authorization process; Mutual Recognition; and related best practices and case studies.  

Since submitting their letter of intent to implement the SAFE FoS in August 2007, Fiji has been implementing several SAFE Standards in a phased manner. In 2012,  they also launched an Gold Card service scheme for compliant traders. Facilitated by WCO Experts, participants actively discussed several issues related to the implementation of an AEO programme in Fiji including through the enhancement of the existing Gold Card service scheme. Extensive discussions also took place on the implementation of Article 7.7 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in line with the SAFE AEO programme as Fiji notified the ratification of the TFA on 1 May 2017.

A detailed gap anaylsis with the current implemenation status of respective Standards of the three Pillars of the SAFE as well as a mapping of the criteria and befenits of existing Gold Card service scheme vis-s-vis the SAFE AEO programme were carried out with a view to indetify gaps for future consolidation and implemenation of the SAFE Standards and AEO programme. Based on this analysis, participants jointly developed a preliminary draft action plan that inluded, among others, setting up a working group to design and launch of the AEO programmes by engaging all relevant government agencies and private sector stakeholders.

The Workshop led to an enhanced understanding of the SAFE FoS including new Pillar 3 (Customs and other government agencies cooperation), Customs’ role in the supply chain security through partnership with trade, AEO criteria, validation and authorization process, particularly in view of the envisaged implementation of related measures of the TFA.

Being a diagnostic mission, the Workshop has laid down a broad framework and strong foundation for FRCA in terms of an effective implementation of the SAFE FoS and the launch of an AEO programme, potentially through enhancement of their Gold Card service scheme, in the near future. The WCO is committed to provide all necessary support, as may be needed, moving forward.