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The PTC endorses the Study Report on Disruptive Technologies

18 marzo 2019

The Permanent Technical Committee (PTC) held its 223rd/224th Sessions from 5 to 8 March 2019 at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels. The Meeting was held back-to-back with the 11th Meeting of the TFA Working Group (TFAWG), including a one-day Joint Session. The meeting was opened with a keynote speech by the Deputy Secretary General Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa and focused on areas of mutual interest to both WCO working bodies. More information on the Joint PTC/TFAWG Session can be found at the following link.

The meeting of the PTC proper started on Wednesday 6 March, with a whole day devoted to the future of Customs. With broad support, the PTC endorsed the Study Report on Disruptive Technologies which focuses on seven different technologies (blockchain, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, biometrics, drones, virtual reality and 3D printing) and provides information on the benefits and risks, their use in the Customs and border management today and their potential use in the same context in the future. Panels discussed the key success factors for introducing innovation into Customs, as well as legal aspects and standardization in the area of blockchain technology. The PTC further explored and provided recommendations on data analytics and geodata for Customs.

Another panel examined the key implementation factors and innovative practices on SMART borders for seamless trade, travel and transport, which is the WCO theme for this year. The PTC also looked into UN Sustainable Development Goals and how Customs can support global supply chains towards achieving environmental sustainability.

The PTC also followed up on a number of different items, such as E-Commerce, Small Island Economies and Special Customs Zones. Furthermore, the updates of the Terms of Reference of the Counterfeiting and Piracy (CAP) Group, as well as of the API/PNR Contact Committee were discussed.

The PTC also explored a number of other cross-cutting issues. For example, Customs laboratories and the strategic review of the Harmonized System (HS) were presented, and the Conference on the future direction of the HS, scheduled for 2 and 3 May 2019, announced.

Another cross-cutting issue was integrity; the PTC heard about the Collective Action Concept from both the public and the private sector perspectives.

Finally, the PTC unanimously reelected Mr. Ian Saunders (US) and Ms. Gordana Vidanovic (Serbia), as the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the PTC, respectively.

Presentations from the meeting have been made available on the WCO Members’ web site at the following link: The Summary Report will be uploaded at the same link in the following weeks.

In line with the PTC decision to remain transparent, the meeting documents, the summary report and presentations will be made publicly available, as well. These will be uploaded in due course at the following link: