Customs Directors General of Community of Portuguese Language Countries review progress with implementation of their Strategic Plan

04 noviembre 2021

The Directors General of Customs of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) met on 27 and 28 October 2021, via videoconference. The Meeting was chaired by Mr. Carlos Benguela, Director General of Customs of Sao Tome and Principe.

Representatives of the Community’s eight member countries shared their Administrations’ experiences in the areas of managing international transit, conducting WCO Time Release Studies and implementing the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Each presentation was followed by an exchange of views.

The Permanent Secretariat of the CPLP gave several reports, notably on the implementation of the Community’s Customs Strategic Plan and on the activities carried out under the Technical Assistance and Cooperation Integrated Programme (PICAT) established to enhance supportive actions among CPLP members.

The Meeting was opened by Mr. Engrácio S. Soares Da Graça, Sao Tome and Principe’s Minister of Planning, Finance and Blue Economy, who highlighted the role of Customs in the socio-economic development of any economy, as well as the need to implement the measures set out in the CPLP Strategic Plan. On behalf of the CPLP countries, he asked the WCO Secretariat and its representative, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, to continue to provide technical assistance. He concluded by congratulating the Meeting organizers on the relevance of the topics which had been placed on the Agenda, and emphasizing the need for close co-operation between all the partners at international level so that the CPLP could achieve its objectives.

WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya then took the floor, to present the various initiatives taken by the WCO and its Secretariat in December 2020 to guide Customs administrations in their efforts to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic effectively. He pointed out that Customs had a role to play in ensuring the resilience of the supply chain – an endeavour which required recourse to technology and digital tools, as well as the adoption of a data-driven culture and decision-making system. A set of strategies and measures which were particularly relevant in this context had been brought together in a publication entitled WCO Guidance on Disaster Management and Supply Chain Continuity. Finally, the Secretary General recalled that the WCO had adopted new procedures and new tools to ensure the continuity of its activities, and said that the Secretariat would continue, albeit remotely, to support Customs administrations which requested its assistance.