The 41st session of the WCO Enforcement Committee concludes successfully

07 abril 2021

On 26 March 2021, the Enforcement Committee (EC) closed its 41st Session, held for the first time in a fully virtual manner. The meeting brought together 400 delegates from 89 Members administrations and six Observers who actively engaged throughout the two phases of the meeting.

During a three week Phase I, over 200 comments were submitted through the CLiKC! EC discussion forum, launched on 22 February. The EC held its web-conference sessions every day for one week, from Monday 22 to Friday 26 March 2021 as part of Phase II of the meeting, and to successfully conclude over 50 agenda items.

The Meeting was opened by WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya who expressed his appreciation for the work carried out by the Committee. In response to the current situation, he insisted on the need to further enhance Customs cooperation and sharing information and best practices to protect citizens from health, safety and security threats under the current circumstances. He further highlighted the importance of the Enforcement Committee in giving guidance in this respect. He reminded Members that the COVID-19 Action Plan is an urgent priority, and was pleased to see that the Meeting was able to include this new priority without undermining the existing priorities by careful reallocation of resources.

Under the Chairmanship of Mr. Jean Herby Nelson, from Haiti, the EC took note, discussed and approved an important number of activities, instruments and tools, whether technical or operational, thereby providing a comprehensive overview of the tasks to come for the Compliance sub-directorate and its different programmes and projects. The Compliance and Enforcement Package (CEP) Draft Action Plan, which incorporates the WCO’s Enforcement portfolio in the period up to July 2022, was endorsed and the way forward for further improvements agreed upon.

Following the WCO Council sessions in December adopting the Resolution on the role of facilitating the cross-border movement of situational critical medicines and vaccines, Members were invited to take appropriate measures to prevent organized criminal organizations from exploiting the situation, and to address the threat posed by illegal products in the cases of dangerous, sub-standard or counterfeit medicines and vaccines. 
The Secretariat developed the COVID-19 Action Plan which was first submitted to this Enforcement Committee. The compliance-related part of the Action Plan includes several components relating to enhancing Customs’ capacity during a pandemic such as Passenger Controls, Risk Management and operational actions.

As per tradition, the EC Meeting then delved into the work undertaken by the different programmes of the Compliance sub-directorate. Updates and the way forward were presented to Members on all enforcement areas, namely: Environment, Drugs, Security, Revenue, Cultural Heritage, IPR Health and Safety, and Customs investigations with COPES project and the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing programme. 

In his closing remarks, the WCO Director of Compliance and Facilitation, Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, thanked the Chairperson and Vice-Chair for their strong leadership, especially given the challenging format of the meeting, allowing only for virtual contacts. He also thanked Delegates for their active participation in the 41st session of the EC and their unfailing commitment to advancing the work of the WCO.