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First ever AEO Refresher Workshop enhances knowledge and strengthens ties among AEO experts

13 diciembre 2021

The World Customs Organization (WCO) held the first Refresher Workshop for accredited and pre-accredited AEO experts virtually, from 6 to 8 December 2021, thanks to the financial support of the Korea Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF-Korea). Around the globe, 24 accredited and pre-accredited AEO experts representing 17 Member Administrations, as well as some external experts and resource speakers, participated in the event.

The purpose of the workshop was to update these existing AEO experts on the latest tools and instruments of the 2021 SAFE Package, including an introduction to the newly updated AEO Validation training materials. The workshop also sought to hear of best practices and to encourage the exchange of thoughts on AEO implementation and validation, as well as MRA developments.

At the opening session, Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, the Director of the Compliance and Facilitation Directorate, expressed his appreciation to all the experts who had remained committed to the AEO-related capacity building activities, including the updating of existing tools and instruments. He also outlined the latest developments on the 2021 SAFE Package, and on the national AEO programmes and MRAs, highlighting the importance of further capacity building activities in this domain with the support of the experts and their administrations.

Professor David Widdowson, President of the International Network of Customs Universities, delivered his opening remarks by emphasizing the critical importance of ensuring that AEO implementation and management take place in a globally consistent manner. He further expressed his expert view that AEO programme management had a significant impact on whether companies could realize the benefits of becoming an AEO, and underlined the importance of capacity building in achieving a global approach.

During the three-day event, all the participants refreshed their knowledge and expertise on the AEO implementation and validation process by receiving updated information from the Secretariat and by sharing their challenges and experiences. They actively discussed various topics in each session, including AEO benefits through border agency collaboration, bringing more SMEs on board, virtual validations, MRAs, and further elaboration of AEO in future. The active engagement during the sessions also resulted in strengthened ties among AEO experts.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Taeil Kang, the Director of the Capacity Building Directorate, described the network of WCO experts as one of the greatest resources of our Organization: “We look forward to cooperating to support our Members in implementing international standards and best practices, adapting solutions to local realities, stimulating the ownership of change, and shifting the approach from ‘doing FOR someone’ to ‘doing WITH someone’.”. The Director went on to express his appreciation to all the participants, guest speakers and external experts who had contributed to the success of the Refresher Workshop.