WCO visits World Bank for discussions on "Doing Business"

26 febrero 2018

WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya met with high level officials of the World Bank in Washington DC, United States, on Friday 23 February 2018 to discuss the World Bank’s “Doing Business Index” and the trade facilitation agenda, including the use of technology.  In meetings with Ms. Caroline Freund, Director, Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice, Mr. Jose Guilherme Reis, Practice Manager, Global Trade and Ms. Rita Ramalho, Manager, “Doing Business” Unit and her experts, wide ranging discussions took place across a broad spectrum of “Doing Business” and performance measurement topics.

As regards “Doing Business” in particular, the discussions addressed the quality and sources of data; the methodology, including how best to convey information on process changes; the measurement of the use of means of transport (land, sea and air); the treatment of commodities (agricultural and industrial); and the impact of intra-Member trade by Customs Unions.

It was agreed to continue cooperating on and further discussing these matters and other areas.  The WCO Secretariat and the World Bank's “Doing Business” Unit will inform WCO Members, at a suitable opportunity, about the “Doing Business” process with a view to Customs taking a more active role in the process to ensure that sufficient account is taken of Customs’ point of view.

Secretary General Mikuriya will invite Members to express their concerns about “Doing Business” and will provide WCO contact points through whom issues may be raised and comments provided.

While the ranking of countries draws adverse comment, “Doing Business” provides strong arguments that may be used by Member Customs administrations to lobby for enhanced legal scope and greater resources.  In addition, Members can look beyond the actual ranking and study the impact of their modernization programmes on the underlying score, given that such programmes often result in enhanced performance that is not necessarily reflected in the comparative ranking.

Both parties agreed to hold further dialogue with a view to ensuring better and more accurate measurement of Customs’ activities.