Future of disruptive technologies in Customs discussed at the Permanent Technical Committee

27 octubre 2017

The 217th/218th Sessions of the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) concluded its proceedings on Friday 20 October with a list of important outputs and actions to be followed up on during the intersession.

The PTC held extensive discussions on disruptive technologies, exploring how Customs and border management can benefit from them. During the intersession the Virtual Working Group on the Future of Customs carried out exploratory work which was then presented to the PTC and further discussed in a break-out session. The delegates shared ways in which they are used today and put forward recommendations on their potential use in the future. The PTC generated extremely fruitful discussions and decided to dedicate a whole day to this topic at the next meeting and to develop a Study Report on Disruptive Technologies in the intersession.

Discussions were also launched on two other topics, one of them being Customs-Railway cooperation which is becoming more and more relevant due to the growing portion of goods in international trade being transported by rail. The item was kicked off by a panel session which brought together a number of intergovernmental and private sector railway organizations (OTIF, OSJD and CER) and Customs (Georgia). This initial discussion opened up new avenues for cooperation which will be further addressed at the next meeting.

The PTC collected a number of interesting inputs on Special Customs Zones (SCZs) which is becoming another relevant topic on PTC’s radar. Having in mind the growing number of SCZs around the world and the benefits it brings such as export growth, attracting FDIs and trade facilitation, the PTC felt that launching this discussion was timely. The WCO will hold six regional workshops on SCZs, where India already volunteered to host the Asia/Pacific one.

The draft outline of the Guidance on Customs role in the collection of indirect taxes was approved by the Meeting and guidance provided on the way forward. The PTC appreciated the presentation from IOTA which provided the tax perspective on opportunities for Customs-Tax cooperation.

The PTC also discussed and provided inputs to the E-Commerce draft Resolution as well as the Communiqué to the Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Buenos Aires in December this year. Furthermore, the PTC approved a number of terms for the inclusion in the Glossary of International Customs Terms. It was also updated on the developments relating to the Customs’ Treatment of Return-Refill Containers and on the update of the Guidelines on Integrated Supply Chain Management.

Bearing in mind the number of cross-cutting issues, the PTC held a Joint Session with the WCO Working Group on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFAWG). The Joint Session discussed Border Agency Cooperation including National Committees on Trade Facilitation, Time Release Study, Customs Brokers and Transit. More on the Joint Session can be found at the following link: http://www.wcoomd.org/en/media/newsroom/2017/october/wco-trade-facilitation-agreement-working-group-meets-for-the-eighth-time-ambassador-blockert.aspx