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WCO supports Pakistan with enhancing ICT implementation and AEO Programme

11 febrero 2019

The World Customs Organization (WCO) with the support of the Customs Cooperation Fund of China (CCF China) conducted a 4-day ‘National Workshop on ICT and AEO Programme’ from 29 January to 1 February 2019 in Karachi, Pakistan. Around 50 participants from various divisions of Pakistan Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) including high-ranking officials, partner government agencies and stakeholders attended the workshop.

In her opening remarks, Mrs. Suraiya Ahmed Butt, Chief Collector of Customs Karachi underlined the importance of ICT for improving Customs processes, outlining some of the initiatives (e.g., WeBOC and national Single Window) undertaken by Pakistan Customs for an efficient border management. She welcomed the WCO’s workshop on the implementation of ICT and AEO programme that was aimed at enhancing knowledge and capabilities of Customs officials and stakeholders in those areas, given the increased global thrust on trade facilitation and security, as well as new and emerging international dynamics driven by technology and e-commerce.

Based on the current national situation, the WCO experts provided detailed information and explanations on the enhanced use of ICT in Customs and border procedures in close coordination with all relevant stakeholders for enhancing trade facilitation and improving controls, including an efficient implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). Related WCO instruments and tools, best practices, and case studies including Korean examples were also provided. Additionally, participants deepened their knowledge on the SAFE Framework of Standards 2018 edition, AEO Programme and associated tools including the recently developed comprehensive list of AEO benefits, AEO Validator Guide, MRA Strategy Guide, and Guidelines on Trader Identification Number (TIN), as well as several related good practices.

The FBR has implemented WeBOC (Web-based One Customs) - Customs Clearance IT System - with forty modules to support various Customs and other government agencies’ business processes. They have also initiated steps for the implementation of a Single Window, involving over all relevant government agencies. Going forward, specific uses of ICT including the use of data analytics and emerging technologies like cloud computing solutions and blockchains were discussed in detail for their implementation along with associated benefits, challenges and potential solutions, by using WCO tools and other Members’ best practices.  

Learning from Korea’s UNIPASS system, the workshop also explored opportunities for implementing a Single Window environment and electronic-services, as well as making it interoperable with Single Windows of partner countries for the exchange of information including e-country of origin (COO) and e-phytosanitary certificates. In the context of growing cross-border e-commerce, the WCO Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce and related tools were presented and discussed with a view to implementing them in Pakistan’s national context.

Concerning AEO programme, the participants, facilitated by the WCO expert, investigated potential opportunities for the development of their AEO programme by strengthening and aligning the criteria and requirements (that is already under formulation) with the SAFE Framework of Standards, identifying tangible operator-wise benefits, carrying out a pilot, improving AEO risk mapping and validation process, and exploiting opportunities for MRAs with a few identified partner countries having AEO programmes.

The Workshop was very well received by participants that led to very extensive and robust discussions. Participants acquired an enhanced understanding of issues relating to Digital Customs as well as relevant WCO instruments and tools in terms of their effective and harmonized implementation. They also learned how an AEO Programme could be developed, piloted and implemented in line with the SAFE Framework of Standards. Furthermore, participants had an opportunity to learn global practices that will help them in benchmarking their ICT and AEO programmes and move further forward.

The WCO will continue to provide all necessary support, as may be required by Pakistan Customs in these areas.