Highlights from the WCO 2014 IT Conference & Exhibition

08 五月 2014

Over 400 delegates from 80 countries attended the 2014 IT Conference and Exhibition from 5 to 7 May 2014 organized in Brisbane Australia with  the theme of “Information Technology as a Catalyst for Economic Competiveness - Innovation Powering Facilitation of International Trade & Tourism”. With 70 speakers this year representing enforcement authorities and businesses as well as the international organizations and academia, this three days event is the WCO’s premium platform which brings together governments and vendors in pursuit of innovative solutions for enhanced border management.

The Conference discussed a variety of topics with a special emphasis on the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (ATF) and ways in which information technologies can accelerate the trade facilitation agenda. The need for consistency and use of existing instruments, tools and standards was emphasized, especially in the context of data exchange and management, while the balance between control and facilitation functions remains a challenge. Collaboration between Customs, other border agencies and the private sector was identified as another success factor. The Conference concluded that, in terms of achieving effective results, IT solutions are necessary for most ATF provisions.

Participants discussed the growth of E-commerce and the use of mobile telephones for purchases as emerging issues which required the attention of Customs, especially in the context of supporting the contribution of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises  (MSMEs) to economic growth. There are challenges, but also opportunities to be seized, especially in developing countries. A panel addressed data quality, subject to further discussions and progress in the WCO forum. It was felt that standards were available, but that they were not applied consistently with a lack of commitments for infrastructure investments which could potentially provide the ultimate solutions.

The different sessions dealt with issues such as securing and facilitating the movement of travelers, including passenger profiling and solutions related to Advance Passenger Information  and Passenger Name Records; national and international solutions for coordinated border management, including Single Window examples; track-and-trace technologies; challenges for securing and facilitating the maritime supply chain; and innovations applied by Customs as a mean of boosting trade.

The Conference concluded that the digital age is changing the way we do things at the border, with the IT as an enabler, rather than as an objective.

The next IT Conference & Exhibition will be held in 2015 in Senegal.