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WCO National Workshop on Coordinated Border Management held in Montevideo, Uruguay

29 agosto 2018

The WCO conducted a National Workshop on Coordinated Border Management (CBM) in Montevideo, Uruguay from 6 to 10 August 2018.  The Workshop was hosted by the Uruguay Customs Administration, with substantial support from the AMS Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) based in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The opening ceremony was chaired by Mr. Enrique Canon, Director of Uruguay’s National Customs Directorate and current Chairperson of the WCO Council.

The Workshop aimed to facilitate and enhance cooperation between Customs and cross-border regulatory agencies on one hand, and between other regulatory agencies for information sharing and coordinated inspection and control of cargo on the other.

The vast majority of stakeholders from cross-border regulatory agencies participated in the Workshop, i.e. the National Customs Directorate; the National Ports Administration; the National Meat Institute; the National Police; the National Border Crossings Directorate; the National Naval Prefecture; the Regulatory Unit of Communications Services; the Foreign Trade Single Window; the Inter-American Development Bank; the Ministry of National Defence; the Ministry of Economy and Finance; the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries; the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining; the Ministry of Public Health; the Ministry of Transport and Public Works; the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment; and the VUCE (Uruguay Single Window) team from Uruguay’s National Institute of Reforms.

The agencies shared their experiences of the current state of play as regards coordination of border tasks and availability of information, as well as their practices in this domain.  Several cases of mature levels of cooperation between some of the agencies in Uruguay were highlighted.  Agencies that already form part of VUCE explained how the latter has dramatically improved the workflow and expedited regulatory verification processes as well as the issuance of a number of certificates.  VUCE plays a prominent role by enabling efficient information sharing, thus allowing prompt delivery of regulatory services to the trade community.   

Uruguay Customs is a dynamic administration which was the first agency to be interfaced with VUCE.  It shared information with participants on a new CBM initiative and provided details about the scope of the initiative, highlighting it as the starting point for conducting a time release study (TRS) on several categories of goods and, more importantly, stating that a group of relevant agencies would be formed to determine the goods selected for the TRS.   

The WCO experts then described international standards on CBM and the ways in which those standards were put into practice at national and regional level.  They went on to share information on best practices with respect to CBM programmes such as the Single Window Environment, One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs), and coordination of border services at Customs checkpoints.  Several experiences were recounted, describing the issuance of and information sharing on certificates of origin between the issuing authority and Customs as well as between Customs administrations of countries trading with each other, such as the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and “COD” in the Americas.

Participants completed the introductory level of two exercises on data harmonization using some of the national regulatory forms, so as to gain a better understanding of the data harmonization challenges, opportunities and benefits for the regulatory agencies and, principally, for the private sector by reducing compliance costs and time.  The second exercise was aimed at facilitating an open discussion between agencies on how re-engineering of business processes can streamline and simplify the work performed by regulatory agencies through improving import, export and transit related procedures, thus encouraging more goods to transit through Uruguay to inland areas of neighbouring countries and creating a more attractive environment for private sector investment.