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WCO Deputy Secretary General presents future trends and current challenges for Customs

15 marzo 2022

From 7 to 9 March 2022, the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, made an official visit to Washington DC, United States. This visit was organized, in particular, to discuss WCO strategic matters with senior representatives from the United States Government and to reflect on the future of Customs, especially in a post-pandemic environment.

The Deputy Secretary General was invited by the Wilson Center, one of the most influential policy forums for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue, to contribute to a conversation on maximizing economic growth and prosperity through the WCO. Under the theme “Getting Accustomed to the New Normal: Border Customs in the Age of COVID-19”, the Deputy Secretary General delivered a keynote speech followed by a question and answer session.

During his presentation, the Deputy Secretary General highlighted that Customs was at an important crossroads, between gradual global economic recovery, capitalizing on cross-border trade, and the continuous changes and challenges in the current global environment, such as the need to combat new variants of the coronavirus, the emergence of new technologies and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, to name but a few. Customs needed to ensure the efficient cross-border movement of goods, including medical supplies such as vaccines, while still placing special focus on curbing criminal activities.

The Deputy Secretary General went on to say that the COVID-19 pandemic had clearly brought seismic changes throughout the world, accelerating some of the trends already identified and turning them into megatrends. Customs would have to respond efficiently to the needs created by a more digitally driven and greener economy, by tailoring procedures and operations to new forms of trade. The WCO should lead the change in this respect, notably through updating and upgrading its main instruments, paying full attention to Customs’ core business while incorporating new elements to maintain Customs’ continued relevance in the future, and ensuring that the WCO remained a viable and sustainable Organization, acknowledged as the global leader in Customs matters. He concluded by pointing our that the WCO Strategic Plan 2022-2025, which would enter into force on 1 July 2022, had been developed to guarantee the right approach towards preparing the WCO and Customs for the future by proposing the development of a comprehensive and ambitious modernization plan for the Organization.

During his visit to Washington DC, the Deputy Secretary General also met with high-ranking officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). They specifically discussed matters of strategic importance for the WCO and the Organization’s overall strategy for the coming years. They addressed the expectations of the United States Government regarding the direction to be followed by the Organization and the determination of its future role in support of the Customs community.