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Asia-Pacific Heads of Customs discuss priorities and strengthen collaboration

08 abril 2021

Indonesian Customs, in its capacity as Vice-Chair of the WCO Council for the Asia-Pacific (AP) region, organized a virtual Regional Meeting of Directors General of Customs on 6 and 7 April 2021. The meeting was chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Vice-Chair for the AP region, Mr. R. Syarif Hidayat and brought together many heads of Customs in the region as well as the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB), and the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO).

WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya explained WCO's measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the Secretariat Note on the role of Customs in facilitating and securing the cross-border movement of situationally critical medicines and vaccines, the current status on COVID-19 Action Plan, the development of Guidelines on Disaster Management and Supply Chain Continuity, the establishment of the Passenger Facilitation and Control Working Group, and the implementation of Operation STOP 2, as well as the key outcomes of the latest Finance Committee. He also presented the evolution of WCO meetings and the possible solution for future working methods and priorities, taking into consideration the significant increase of working days and hours due to the expansion of the Working Bodies and the combination of online and document-based meetings.

On behalf of Mr. Askolani, the Chairperson of the Regional Vice-Chair for the AP region and Director General of Indonesia Customs, Mr. R. Syarif Hidayat expressed his gratitude to Customs administrations in the region for their active participation in this meeting to discuss regional challenges and strategy while sharing the experiences and expanding the regional cooperation. He also addressed the importance to fully utilize the WCO tools and guidelines as well as to closely cooperate in the region for taking effective measures in response to COVID-19 pandemic to attain the regional common goal.

The Heads of Customs Administrations listened to the recent update on 2020-2022 Regional Strategic Plan, as well as activity reports by the Vice-Chair, ROCB A/P and RILO A/P.  Also the Conference endorsed several issues of key importance to the Region, such as the WCO regional representatives, a proposal from China to be nominated as Regional Customs Laboratory and the Terms of Reference of the Regional Private Sector Group for Asia/Pacific.

The Heads of Customs Administrations exchanged their experiences in maintain Customs relevance and to fight against COVID-19, and discussed regional priorities and strategy such as the facilitation of the cross-border movement of COVID-19 vaccines, passenger facilitation and control, and Electronic Certificate of Origin. They agreed on the importance of expanding and deepening cooperation in the region as well with the WCO, the ROCB A/P and the RILO A/P, particularly during these challenging times.